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May 29, 2024

Missile Strikes Across Ukraine on New Year’s Day As Russia Vows To Intensify Attacks

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Jan 4, 2024

Russia launched a wave of deadly missile and drone strikes across multiple Ukrainian cities on New Year’s Day and in the early hours of January 2nd. The strikes came after Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to intensify attacks on Ukraine in retaliation for a drone attack on Engels air base in Saratov region on December 26th.

Over 90 Missiles and Drones Target Critical Infrastructure

According to Ukraine’s Air Force, over 90 missiles and drones were used in the latest barrage of Russian attacks. The strikes targeted critical energy infrastructure in the capital Kyiv and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, as well as other locations across Ukraine.

At least 4 people were killed and nearly 100 injured in Kyiv and Kharkiv alone. Residential buildings were also damaged in the attacks. Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko stated that around 40% of consumers in the capital were left without electricity due to the strikes.

Russia Launches Ballistic and Cruise Missiles

The Russian strikes involved the use of air, sea and land based missile launch platforms. Kh-55 and Kh-101 cruise missiles were fired from Tu-95MS strategic bombers in the air. The bombers took off from Engels and flew across Russia and over the Caspian Sea to reach launch positions.

Iskander short range ballistic missiles were likely fired from Belgorod in Russia. Zircon hypersonic missiles were potentially launched from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate stationed in the Barents Sea.

This coordinated use of diverse missile launch platforms allowed Russia to overwhelm Ukrainian air defenses.

Ukraine Retaliates With Strikes in Belgorod

In response to the Russian missile attacks, Ukraine appears to have launched its own strikes into Belgorod region in Russia. Unconfirmed reports state that Ukrainian drones targeted a military airfield and power substation in the region, killing 3 Russian soldiers.

Russia stated that its Pantsir-S1 air defense systems had shot down drones near the town of Belgorod. However photos show wreckage of a Pantsir missile that seems to have crashed into a residential building instead.

Reactions from World Leaders

The missile strikes prompted reactions from several world leaders. US President Joe Biden labeled the attacks “barbaric” and vowed to provide armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised to provide Challenger 2 tanks for Ukraine’s defense. French President Emmanuel Macron stated that France would supply light AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicles.

Signs Point to Increased Attacks By Russia

Analysts have noted that Russia seems to have rebuilt a sizeable portion of its missile stockpile over the past couple months. This means that Moscow likely has the capability to sustain intense strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure once again.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Russia is planning a significant escalation around the February 24th one year anniversary of its invasion. The latest missile attacks may be the start of attempts to break Ukraine’s resistance ahead of this date.

What Comes Next?

It appears that the Russia-Ukraine war is likely to see heightened attacks by both sides in the coming weeks. Russia will potentially launch further large scale missile and drone attacks seeking to degrade Ukraine’s energy grids, military production facilities and transportation links during winter.

For its part, Ukraine is expected to continue strikes on Russian military sites, weapon depots and logistics infrastructure. But Russia’s missile stockpile replenishment may have eroded some of Ukraine’s offensive momentum gained in the later months of 2022.

Ultimately Russia seems intent on wearing down Ukraine through intense bombardments this winter. But an exhausted and sanctions hit Russian economy may struggle to sustain such efforts beyond a few months.

Ukraine on the other hand hopes that committed Western military aid will allow it to weather the upcoming Russian offensive storm. Kyiv then seeks to launch its own counteroffensive later in 2023 to reclaim more occupied territories in the south and east.

The course of the Russia-Ukraine war still hangs delicately in the balance. The intensity of fighting on both sides in the next few pivotal weeks will likely determine who has the upper hand by the time Spring arrives.

Table: Missiles Used in Russian Strikes on January 1st

Missile Type Launch Platform Targets
Kh-55/ Kh-101 Cruise Missiles Tu-95MS Strategic Bombers Critical Infrastructure in Kyiv, Kharkiv
Iskander Short Range Ballistic Missiles Launchers in Belgorod, Russia Residential Areas in Kyiv
Zircon Hypersonic Missiles Admiral Gorshkov Frigate in Barents Sea Unknown
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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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