As the war enters its 677th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Monday, January 1, 2024.
- Russia launched a new wave of drone and missile attacks across Ukraine, with at least 28 people injured after six missiles hit the northeastern city of Kharkiv. Russia said the attack on Ukraine’s second biggest city was “retaliation” for a deadly Ukrainian air raid on the Russian city of Belgorod not far from the border. Moscow targeted a hotel housing military commanders and “foreign mercenaries” as well as the headquarters of the Ukrainian Security Service for the region. Kharkiv city officials said the missiles struck residential buildings, hotels and medical facilities, while drones hit residential buildings.
- Ukraine’s Air Force said it had destroyed 21 of 49 Iranian-made Shahed drones Russia fired in its latest attack. Most were aimed at the front line and parts of the Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhia regions, it said.
- Separately, Kharkiv regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov said that three people were killed when Russian forces shelled a village near the front line.
- In the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, meanwhile, Russian shelling killed a 14-year-old boy and left a 9-year-old boy in hospital in critical condition, according to regional Governor Oleksandr Prokudin.
Politics and diplomacy
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy struck an optimistic note as he sought to rally the country in his New Year address. The 20-minute video message from his Kyiv office made almost no direct reference to the situation on the 1,000km (600-mile) front line or the limited success of a counteroffensive launched in June. Nor did it refer to the political and diplomatic challenges facing Kyiv as it seeks to secure continued military and other aid from its allies. Instead, Zelenskyy stressed the strength and unity of the Ukrainian people in the face of Russia’s aggression and referenced successes against the Russian Navy in the Black Sea. He promised that Ukraine would wreak “wrath” on Russian forces in 2024.
- In his New Year’s address, Russian President Vladimir Putin made only passing reference to the invasion, praising Russia’s soldiers on the front line as “heroes” in a fight for “truth and justice”. He also called for unity among Russians in the face of “difficult tasks” and lauded Russian citizens’ “solidarity, mercy and fortitude.” The four-minute pre-recorded video was aired just before midnight in each of Russia’s 11 time zones.