Russian bombardment of separate Ukrainian regions with suicide drones
Russia launched more drones attacks on Ukraine, less than a day after a wave of attacks on cities on New Year’s Eve, prompting condemnation from Kyiv that Moscow aims to kill as many civilians as possible.
In the last hours of 2022, Russia launched dozens of attacks with suicide drones, which fell vertically with their payload of explosives, towards Ukraine.
According to Ukrainian officials, all 45 drones were shot down.
Another strike soon followed with a suicide march on Sunday, and the Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform reported that two sets of Iranian-made Shahed drones were spotted near Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine.
“Aerial alert, two groups of drones,” Vitaly Kim, head of the regional military administration, wrote in a public message on Telegram.
Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote on Twitter that Moscow had changed its strategy after 10 months of grinding war against its neighbor.
He continued, “The mass bombing of major city centers in Ukraine on the night of December 31 to January 1 reveals a new change in the type of war”.
“Russia no longer has any military targets… It’s trying to kill as many civilians as possible and destroy as many civilian sites as possible… War for war’s sake”.
“The Russian terrorists were really pathetic and now they started the new year like this,” Zelensky said in his daily video address on Sunday night.
On New Year’s Day, the Ukrainian military reported that Russia attacked Ukraine with a total of 45 marches during the night.
The Ukrainian armed forces said that the Ukrainian air defenses destroyed all Iranian-made Shahed 136 combat aircraft – the so-called suicide drones.
At the same time, the Ukrainian army claimed that it had inflicted heavy losses on the Russian forces in Bakhmut, a small city in eastern Ukraine that has been witnessing fierce battles for months.
About 170 Russian servicemen were killed in the battle for control of the war-torn city on Saturday, said Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesman for the forces of eastern Ukraine.
Describing it as a death assembly line for the Russian occupiers, Cherevaty said that at least 200 more Russians were wounded.
Moscow didn’t comment on this, and it is not possible to immediately confirm the battlefield accounts in the 10-month-old war.
Russian forces are relentlessly seeking control of Bakhmut, which has become a symbolic prize for Moscow, even though analysts say it is of modest strategic value.
Russia is preparing to increase the number of its soldiers by 137 thousand at the beginning of the New Year.
According to a decree ordered by President Vladimir Putin in August and entered into force on Sunday, the number of military personnel, including contract and conscript soldiers, will rise to about 1.15 million.
And in total, the personnel of the Russian army will increase to 2 million people.
The remaining individuals are civil servants such as administrative staff.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu justified the increase in military forces in September, saying that “the NATO bloc continues to move towards Russia’s borders”.