Fresh attacks on Ukraine as defending troops activate anti-aircraft missiles

Fresh attacks on Ukraine as defending troops activate anti-aircraft missiles

Ukrainians faced a grim start to 2023 as Sunday brought more Russian missile and drone attacks following a blistering New Year's Eve assault that killed at least three civilians across the country, authorities reported.

Air raid sirens sounded in the capital shortly after midnight followed by a barrage of missiles.

In a video address Sunday night, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised his citizens' “sense of unity, of authenticity, of life itself.” The Russians, he said, “will not take away a single year from Ukraine. They will not take away our independence. We will not give them anything.”

Ukrainian forces in the air and on the ground shot down 45 Iranian-made explosive drones fired by Russia on Saturday night and before dawn Sunday, Zelenskyy said.

Another strike at noon Sunday in the southern Zaporizhzhia region killed one person, according to the head of the regional military administration, Alexander Starukh. But Kyiv was largely quiet, and people there on New Year's Day savoured the snippets of peace.

“Of course, it was hard to celebrate fully because we understand that our soldiers can’t be with their families,” Evheniya Shulzhenko said while sitting with her husband on a park bench overlooking the city.

But a “really powerful” New Year's Eve speech by Zelenskyy lifted her spirits and made her proud to be Ukrainian, Shulzhenko said. She recently moved to Kyiv after living in Bakhmut and Kharkiv, two cities that have experienced some of the war's heaviest fighting.

Multiple blasts rocked the capital and other areas of Ukraine on Saturday and through the night, wounding dozens.

Ukraine’s largest university, the Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv, reported significant damage to its buildings and campus. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said two schools were damaged, including a kindergarten.

The strikes came 36 hours after widespread missile attacks Russia launched Thursday to damage energy infrastructure facilities.

Watch the video in the player above.