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March 4, 2024

Russian Forces Launch Major Missile and Drone Attacks Across Ukraine

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Jan 6, 2024

Russian forces carried out a massive wave of missile and drone strikes across Ukraine on January 1st and 2nd, killing at least 12 civilians and wounding over 100 more. The attacks targeted critical infrastructure in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other major cities on New Year’s Day and overnight into January 2nd.

New Year’s Day Bombardment

The Russian military launched drones, cruise missiles and rockets in the early hours of January 1st, striking apartment buildings and critical infrastructure and killing at least 4 civilians in Kyiv and Kharkiv (Source 1). Around 100 civilians were also injured in the bombardments (Source 2).

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the strikes were an attempt by Russia to ruin Ukrainians’ 2023 New Year celebrations and make the holiday “miserable and painful” (Source 3). But he vowed that Ukraine would prevail over Russia’s attempts to spread “terror”.

The United States condemned the attacks, with President Joe Biden stating that they “yet again demonstrate the utter brutality” of Putin’s war (Source 4).

New Year’s Eve Attack Details

The Russian strikes overnight into January 1st specifically targeted civilian apartment buildings and critical infrastructure like power plants in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other cities (Source 5).

At least 4 civilians were killed and almost 100 injured by the Russian missile and drone strikes (Source 1, Source 2). Russian forces used Shahed drones and hypersonic and ballistic missiles in the attacks (Source 6).

The strikes caused massive explosions that shook Kyiv, destroyed buildings, started fires and knocked out power across the country. Firefighters battled blazes in apartment buildings while rescue workers dug through the rubble looking for survivors (Source 7).

Overnight Strikes Into January 2nd

Russia unleashed another intense bombardment overnight into January 2nd, firing missiles and drones at targets across Ukraine and killing at least 8 more civilians (Source 8).

Major explosions rocked Kyiv and Kharkiv again, destroying more buildings and infrastructure (Source 9). Russia used Shahed drones, cruise missiles and other munitions in the fresh wave of strikes (Source 10).

At least 4 more civilians were killed and dozens injured in Kyiv and Kharkiv during the overnight attacks (Source 8, Source 11). Rescuers worked through the night to battle fires and search the rubble for additional victims.

Putin Vows Escalation After Ukrainian Strike in Russia

The intense Russian strikes came in retaliation after Ukrainian forces launched their own attack on January 1st against the Russian city of Belgorod, located just across the border. That attack killed 3 Russian soldiers and wounded 13 more, and also damaged energy infrastructure (Source 12).

In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to “intensify the scale of strikes” on Ukraine, calling the attack on Belgorod “terrorist” (Source 13).

But Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack in Belgorod. Some analysts believe it was carried out by partisan fighters or special forces units inside Russia rather than the regular Ukrainian military (Source 14).

Either way, the strikes clearly crossed one of Putin’s “red lines” not to attack Russian territory, prompting the furious response. But they also signaled Ukraine’s intent to bring the fight directly to Russia after months of devastating bombardments ordered by Putin.

Condemnation and Support for Ukraine

The latest deadly Russian strikes brought swift condemnation from Ukraine’s allies, with several pledging additional support:

  • The White House urged the US Congress to approve $67 billion in new military and economic aid for Ukraine in 2023, stating that Russia has “failed to achieve its strategic objectives” despite the brutality of its war (Source 15)

  • French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna expressed support for Ukraine’s right to strike Russian territory in self-defense against aggression, calling Russia the “aggressor” (Source 16)

  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba asked Western nations for more advanced air defenses, armored vehicles, critical infrastructure equipment and training of Ukrainian soldiers (Source 17)

  • President Zelenskyy called the latest Russian attacks “vile” and stated that Russia must be held responsible for Ukrainian lives lost (Source 18)

But while the Western resolve to stand by Ukraine remains firm, analysts say actually delivering all of the requested military aid will be a difficult balancing act to avoid further provoking Russia (Source 19).

Outlook Going Forward

After nearly 11 months of grinding war, the latest escalation shows no signs of Russia backing down on its campaign to batter Ukrainian cities into submission (Source 20). Putin again vowed to “systematically destroy” Ukraine’s defense industry and infrastructure after the cross-border attacks.

With Russia still holding substantial missile stockpiles and Ukraine’s air defenses overmatched, analysts say Kyiv and other major cities likely face more intense bombardments in the coming days and weeks (Source 21).

But Ukraine has also demonstrated its ability to strike back through conventional and unconventional means, signaling the country’s determination to make the costs of Putin’s war increasingly unbearable (Source 22). The course of Russia’s invasion remains highly unpredictable as both sides trade blows in a war of attrition.

With neither Russia nor Ukraine appearing willing to yield, the latest escalation only makes the path to any negotiated settlement seem ever more distant. The resilience of Ukraine’s defenses and the tenacity of its people continues to defy most expectations. But Russia still retains fearsome capabilities to inflict destruction on a massive scale.

What new shocks or turning points the war may hold in 2023 remains deeply uncertain. But the start of the year has already delivered a furious jolt of the death and devastation that has become grimly routine after nearly a year of the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II.

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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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