Russia remains aggressive in its approach against Ukraine as Russian bombers fire missiles in Kyiv and other Ukrainian borders during an early New Year’s Day.
Ukrainians celebrating the holidays hear air raid sirens blowing for the rest of the day. According to the Air Force command of Ukraine, the Ukrainian forces countered the attacks and managed to destroy around 45 Iranian-created drones. However, Ukrainians’ spirits did not waver, as eyewitnesses said many citizens went out of their balconies and shouted “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!” as the siege continued.
Leader of the Russian forces and the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said he would continue his relentless efforts to launch attacks against Ukraine. He said in a speech that the war against Ukraine has already reached its 11th month. And he will continue with the war until he claims victory. Putin’s speech is a far cry from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky’s message of unity, peace, and gratitude. Early on, the Russian forces lost crucial regions within the war zone, significantly reducing Russia’s stakes in the war. As a result, experts said that Russia might lose the war. However, they predicted that Putin would not back down.
“Since September, I see a lot of changes [in Russia] and a lot of fears,” said Tatiana Stanovara, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar.
“For the first time since the war started, people are beginning to consider the worst-case scenario, that Russia can lose, and they don’t see and don’t understand how Russia can get out of this conflict without being destroyed. People are very anxious. They believe that what is going on is a disaster,” she added.
“The very fact that Russia is still waging this war, despite its apparent defeats in March [when its forces withdrew from Kyiv], indicates that Putin is desperate not to lose,” said Ilya Matveev, a political scientist in St. Petersburg.
“I think that already everyone, including Putin, realized that even tactical nuclear weapons will not solve the problem for Russia. They cannot just stop [the] military advances of [the] Ukrainian army; it’s impossible. Therefore, tactical weapons cannot decisively change [the] situation on the ground,” Matveev added.
Ukraine faced a dilemma over the holiday
Russia’s attack impaired Ukraine and forced many families to stay inside their houses as the New Year came. The curfew started at 7 PM, making public celebrations impossible for Ukrainians. According to Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko, when they conducted the initial investigation, there were only minor damages in the capital while there were no casualties. Ukraine’s top military officers said Russia launched 12 air strikes and 31 missiles across Ukraine in just a day.
“Russia coldly and cowardly attacked Ukraine in the early hours of the new year. But Putin still does not seem to understand that Ukrainians are made of iron,” wrote US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink.
Kyiv chief of police Andrii Nebytov posted a photo in his Telegram depicting a drone allegedly from Russia with a Russian print greeting them with a “Happy New Year.” The subsequent investigation done by the police revealed there was at least one person killed as the bombardments happened. Meanwhile, more than a dozen Ukrainians were injured because of the missiles.
“These wreckage are not at the front, where fierce battles are taking place. They are here, on a sports grounds, where children play,” said Nebytov.
Ukraine and the US
In a recent visit to the United States, Ukrainian President Volodymyy Zelenskky expressed his gratefulness to his Western ally for its continued support in the war. Senior US officials commended Zelenskky for his bravery and openness to cooperate with other international players in the call to end the war, which has already taken thousands of lives. In a White House speech, Zelenskyy highlighted Ukraine’s relationship with the US.
“I hope my words of respect and gratitude resonate in each American heart. Against all odds and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn’t fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking. We have artillery, yes. Thank you. We have it. Is it enough? Honestly, not really,” said Zelenskyy.
“The world is too interconnected and too interdependent to allow someone to stay aside and at the same time to feel safe when such a battle continues. Our two nations are allies in this battle, and next year will be a turning point, I know it – the point where Ukrainian courage. And American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom, the freedom of people who stand for their values,” the leader added.
“[The speech] connected the struggle of Ukrainian people to our own revolution, to our feelings that we want to be warm in our homes to celebrate Christmas and to get us to think about all the families in Ukraine that will be huddled in the cold and to know that they are on the front lines of freedom right now,” Clinton said.
“I also think no one is asking for a blank check. I believe the Ukrainians have proven that they are a good investment for the United States. They are not asking us to be there to fight their war. They’re fighting it themselves. They’re asking us and our allies for the means to not only defend themselves but to actually win,” she added.
Photo Credit: Valentyn Ogirenko