Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to unleash "wrath" against Russian forces in 2024, marking a determined stance in the ongoing conflict, The Moscow Times reports.
This declaration came amidst escalating strikes, including a significant attack on the Russian city of Belgorod that resulted in 24 casualties.
This intensification follows one of the largest aerial assaults since the conflict's onset, where Moscow's barrage on Ukrainian cities led to 39 deaths. In response, Kyiv declared January 1 as a day of mourning, acknowledging the 19 lives lost in the capital.
The first day of the new year didn't bring respite, as Donetsk's Russian-installed leader reported additional casualties from a rocket attack. Simultaneously, the Odesa region in southern Ukraine experienced a fatal drone strike, and Lviv in the west faced drone incursions.
In his New Year's Eve address, Zelensky highlighted Ukraine's fortified defenses, showcasing clips of artillery and fighter jets. He emphasized the country's bolstered military capabilities, including the anticipated addition of "a million" drones and F-16 fighter jets, with Ukrainian pilots already training on the latter.
Despite the influx of Western weapons worth billions of dollars, Ukraine faced challenges in significantly advancing its counteroffensive last year. Conversely, Russia intensified its military efforts, capturing key locations like Marinka and pushing towards Kupiansk.
In this high-stakes scenario, Kyiv continues to appeal for sustained Western support. The UK, reinforcing its commitment, announced plans to send additional air defense missiles to Ukraine.
President Zelensky's message is a clear signal of Ukraine's unwavering resolve and readiness for the challenges that 2024 might bring.