Putin promises to escalate attacks on Ukraine following a lethal end to the previous week in 2023.

Russian president addressed the Ukrainian attack on Belgorod, a Russian city, which came after Moscow’s large-scale attack on Ukrainian cities.
President Vladimir Putin stated that Moscow will increase strikes on military targets in Ukraine, following a deadly week of conflict where both sides engaged in large-scale attacks.
Putin’s comments came after a Ukrainian attack on Belgorod on Saturday, which resulted in the death of 25 people, including five children. This attack was in response to Moscow’s attack on Ukrainian cities the day before, resulting in over 40 deaths and 160 injuries.
“We will intensify the strikes. Any crime against civilians will not go unpunished,” Putin declared during a visit to a military hospital.
While Putin stated that Moscow would continue to target “military installations,” recent Russian strikes targeted a university and a museum.
Kyiv accused Russia of launching a “record” number of drones on New Year’s Day, with 90 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Moscow, 87 of which were destroyed.
The Ukrainian interior ministry reported that two people were killed and another injured in a drone attack on a residential building in the Sumy region.
Kyiv also claimed that Russian shelling on New Year’s Day resulted in the death of one person in the Odesa region and another person in Kherson.
The intensified attacks came after Russia conducted a major strike on Ukraine in the final days of 2023, resulting in 41 deaths.
Within the escalating violence, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy stated in an interview that the idea of Russia winning the nearly two-year-old war was merely a “feeling” and that Russia was suffering heavy losses on the battlefield.
Zelenskiy did not provide evidence to support his allegation of Russian losses but mentioned that Ukraine’s priorities in 2024 included targeting Russia’s strengths in Crimea and protecting key cities on the eastern front.
Regarding peace talks, Zelenskiy rejected the idea that Moscow was interested, citing Moscow’s ongoing waves of aerial strikes and labeling Russia as a “terrorist country.”
Putin, commenting on the situation on the battlefield, stated that he believed the “strategic initiative” in the prolonged conflict in Ukraine favored the Russian side since the failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the summer.
Putin also expressed a desire to end the conflict “as quickly as possible” but on Moscow’s terms.
Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.

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