- Russia fires more than 20 cruise missiles, killing one
- President Zelensky says the Russians are in league with the devil
- The attack in Kiev has been called ‘terror on New Year’s Day’
- The energy minister said the attacks did not cause major damage
KYIV, Dec 31 (Reuters) – Russia fired more than 20 cruise missiles at targets in Ukraine on Saturday, killing at least one person in Kiev, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in attacks that showed Moscow was in league with the devil.
A second barrage of major Russian missile strikes in three days badly damaged a Kiev hotel and a residential building. Energy Minister German Kalushchenko said on Facebook that the strikes did not cause serious damage to the national power system.
Russia has been attacking key Ukrainian infrastructure with a barrage of missiles and drones since October, causing blackouts as cold weather bites.
Zelensky noted in the video speech that Russia also carried out attacks at Easter and Christmas.
“They call themselves Christians … but they are for the devil. They are for him and with him,” he said.
At least a dozen people were injured in the attacks. Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said the injured included a Japanese journalist who was taken to hospital.
DTEK, the country’s largest private energy company, later announced it had canceled emergency power outages in and around Kyiv.
Addressing Russian speakers, Zelensky said President Vladimir Putin was destroying Russia’s future.
“No one will forgive you for terrorism. No one in the world will forgive you. Ukraine will not,” he said, and again called for allies to provide anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems.
Air defense forces shot down 12 incoming cruise missiles, Army chief Valery Zalushny said, including six around the Kiev region, five in the Zhytomyr region and one in the Kemelnytskyi region.
He said in a telegram that the cruise missiles were fired hundreds of miles over the Caspian Sea from strategic bombers and land-based missiles.
“Russia’s massive missile attack deliberately targets residential areas, not even our energy infrastructure,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter after the attack.
“War criminal Putin celebrates the New Year by killing people,” Kuleba said, calling for Russia to be stripped of its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets described the attack as “terrorism on New Year’s Day”.
Other cities across Ukraine also caught fire. In the southern part of Mykolaiv, local governor Vitaly Kim said on television that six people had been wounded.
In a separate post on Telegram, Kim said Russia had targeted civilians, a charge Moscow has previously denied.
“According to today’s trends, it is not just critical (infrastructure) that the invaders are striking… In many cities (they are targeting) simply residential areas, hotels, garages, roads.”
In the western city of Khmelnytskyi, two people were injured in a drone strike, Ukrainian presidential aide Kyrylo Tymoshenko said. He also announced a strike in the southern industrial city of Zaporizhzia, which Tymoshenko said damaged residential buildings.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry responded in a telegram: “With each new missile attack on civilian infrastructure, more and more Ukrainians are convinced of the need to fight until the total collapse of Putin’s regime.”
A curfew was in effect across Ukraine from 7pm to midnight, making public celebrations for the start of 2023 impossible.
Several regional governors posted messages on social media warning against breaking restrictions on New Year’s Day.
(This story has been rewritten to correct a typo in the title)
Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk and David Ljunggren; Written by Max Hunder and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Hugh Lawson, David Holmes and Mark Porter
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