Putin 'hides behind you and burns your country', Zelenskyy tells Russians as powerful blasts rock Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has denounced strikes on Ukraine and accused Vladimir Putin of hiding, as explosions rocked locations across the country on the final day of the year.

People throughout Ukraine were urged to take cover on New Year's Eve amid what Ukrainian officials said was a barrage of Russian missiles.

One person has been killed and 20 wounded in explosions in Kyiv, according to mayor Vitali Klitschko.

In a video message on Telegram, President Zelenskyy vowed that Russia would lose and the "terrorist state" would not be forgiven.

He added: "Thank you to everyone who protects Ukraine! Thanks to everyone who is now on the front line!"

He also praised energy workers who have been repairing damage to Ukraine's power networks after waves of Russian strikes.

Switching to Russian, he appeared to address ordinary citizens across the border, saying Vladimir Putin "hides behind the military" and "burns" their country's future.

Strikes were also reported in the Zaporizhzhia and Khmelnytskyi regions of Ukraine.

Mr Klitschko earlier said via his Telegram account: "The buildings of two schools in the Solomyansk district of the capital, one in Pechersk, suffered varying degrees of damage. There is one kindergarten in the Solomyan district. There are no casualties at these facilities.

"As a result of the Russian attack on civilian objects in the capital, one person died, 20 were injured. 14 victims were hospitalised, six were treated by medics on the spot."

More explosions were heard in the capital city and surrounding region following the first wave of Russia's missile attack, Reuters reported.

The reports come after a series of Russian missile strikes in recent days, with the most intense aerial bombardments of the war to date on Thursday, according to Ukrainian officials.

A presidential aide, in the capital, said a hotel was among buildings to have been damaged in the barrage.

The governor of the surrounding Kyiv region had warned shortly beforehand of a possible incoming missile attack, and that air defences in the region were engaging targets.

Putin moves to justify the war to Russians

The latest violence took place as Vladimir Putin used a New Year broadcast to Russians to reiterate that their country was fighting in Ukraine to protect its "motherland" and to secure "true independence" for its people.

In a nine-minute message - the longest New Year's address of his two-decade rule - the Russian president accused the West of lying and of provoking Moscow to launch what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

"For years, Western elites hypocritically assured us of their peaceful intentions," he said.

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"In fact, in every possible way they were encouraging neo-Nazis who conducted open terrorism against civilians in the Donbas".

He added: "The West lied about peace. It was preparing for aggression... and now they are cynically using Ukraine and its people to weaken and split Russia.

"We have never allowed this, and will never allow anybody to do this to us," state-run news agencies quoted Mr Putin as saying.

The West and Ukraine have rejected Moscow's claims relating to the start of the conflict and say Mr Putin launched a baseless war of aggression in a bid to seize territory and topple Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.