Kyiv and several places in Ukraine were attacked on the last day of the year

(CNN) — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “following the devil” and waging war to ensure that its president, Vladimir Putin, remains in power “until the end of his life.”

Zelensky switched to speaking Russian in his late-night speech on Saturday to send a message to the Kremlin and Russian citizens, as Moscow launched a series of deadly attacks that swept across regions of Ukraine ahead of the New Year.

“All this war that you wage, Russia, is not the war with NATO, as your propagandists lie,” Zelensky said. “It is not for something historical. It is for a person to remain in power until the end of his life.

“And what will happen to all of you, citizens of Russia, does not concern him,” he added.

Zelensky said that “the Russian leader is hiding behind the troops, behind the missiles, behind the walls of his residences and palaces” and behind his people. “He hides behind you and burns your country and your future. No one will ever forgive him for terror,” Zelensky emphasized.

Russia launches new missile attacks in Ukraine 3:08

Zelensky said that “most of the Russian missiles were intercepted by air defense forces.”

“If it weren’t for the air defense, the number of casualties would have been different. Much bigger,” she stressed. “And this is yet another proof to the world that support for Ukraine must be increased.”

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has previously said that Moscow wants to cause darkness and leave the country “in the dark for the New Year.”

Moscow intends to “intimidate, leave us in the dark for the new year, cause as much damage to civilian infrastructure as possible,” Shmyhal said on Telegram.

Shmyhal said Russia wants to “intimidate” Kyiv as attacks hit the capital on Saturday. Credit: Efrem Lukatsky/AP

“There are attacks on civilian infrastructure in different regions of our country. Residential buildings, hotel, shop, festival venue were damaged. There are dead and wounded, ”he wrote.

“The Russians want to intimidate, leave us in the dark for the New Year, cause as much damage to civilian infrastructure as possible.”

Russian shelling in recent weeks against key infrastructure in Ukraine has left much of the country without access to heat and electricity amid a harsh winter season.

Of the 20 injured, 14 were hospitalized, while six others received medical attention on the spot, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

Several school buildings in the capital suffered severe damage from the blasts, the mayor added.

Air raid sirens, which went off earlier after the attacks, are now turned off in Kyiv.

Russian shelling in Kyiv killed at least one person on Saturday. Credit: Vladyslav Sodel/Reuters

Farther east, in the Donetsk, Kharkiv and Chernihiv regions, Russian attacks killed at least six people.

Three people were killed and three more were injured in the Donetsk region, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram.

One person was injured in the Zaporizhia region. Two were killed and one wounded in the Kharkiv region. Two people were injured in the Kherson region, while one was killed in the Chernihiv region.

This comes after Russia launched five missiles and 29 airstrikes on Friday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Saturday.

“26 of the enemy airstrikes were on civilian infrastructure. In particular, the occupants used 10 Shahed-136 UAVs, but all were shot down. In addition, the enemy carried out 80 attacks with multiple rocket launchers, civilian settlements were also hit,” the General Staff said in its latest operational update.

Rescue teams worked at the site of the explosions in Kyiv. Credit: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

He noted that Russia “continues to carry out offensive actions in the Lyman and Bakhmut directions and tries to improve the tactical situation in the Kupiansk and Avdiivka directions.”

Russian forces fired on several cities and towns, including in Lyman, in the direction of Bakhmut, in the Zaporizhia and Kherson areas.

“We will persevere”

Thirty percent of the capital lost power due to emergency blackouts, Klitschko said.

“The municipal ‘life support system’ of the capital works normally. Currently, 30% of customers are without power due to emergency blackouts,” he stated on Telegram.

“Kyiv residents have water and heating,” he added.

Klitschko also reported that the blackouts were applied to check the open section of the red line of the city metro “for the presence of traces of missile debris.”

“Specialists are on their way to that area,” he said. “We will inform you more about the resumption of traffic on the red line.”

Kyiv residents told CNN how they planned to spend the New Year in the capital.

“From 2023 I am really looking forward to a victory and also to have brighter impressions and new emotions. I miss him a lot. I also want to travel and open borders. And I also think about personal and professional growth, because one should not stay still. I have to develop myself and work for the benefit of the country,” said Alyona Bogulska, a 29-year-old financier.

“This year is a symbol, not that it is a small victory, but a symbol that we survived the year,” said Tatiana Tkachuk, a 43-year-old pharmacy clerk.

“And I want to thank everyone who helps Ukraine. We have made many friends. And to understand that we have many good things, unfortunately we had to go through terrible things. But a lot of people are doing real miracles for Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, said the country “will persevere” after the strikes.

“On New Year’s Eve, cities should be covered in a wave of celebration, joy and hope. But Ukrainian cities are again covered by a wave of missiles from Russia,” Zelenska tweeted.

“Ruining the lives of others is a disgusting habit of our neighbors. But we will persevere and be even stronger, despite everything.”

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