Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to intensify military operations against Ukraine in response to a recent attack on the Russian city of Belgorod, according to The Moscow Times.
The assault in Belgorod, which resulted in the death of at least two dozen people and injuries to over a hundred, occurred after Moscow had launched a significant aerial attack across Ukrainian cities, claiming 23 lives.
During a visit to a military hospital on Monday, Putin firmly stated that Russia will increase its strikes on Ukraine. He emphasized that Russia’s military strategy targets military objectives rather than civilian areas. Putin expressed his personal outrage but reaffirmed the commitment to avoid civilian casualties, focusing instead on military targets.
This announcement came amidst reports from Kyiv indicating that the Russian Armed Forces deployed a record number of drones in strikes against Ukraine on New Year's Day. Putin labeled the Belgorod incident a "terrorist attack" and accused Ukrainian forces of targeting civilian areas in the city center.
Additionally, Putin reiterated his belief that Ukraine is being manipulated by Western countries in their confrontation with Russia. He maintained that Russia holds the strategic initiative in the ongoing conflict and underscored the importance of executing offensive operations only after ensuring the defeat of the enemy forces.
Putin's statement signals a potential escalation in the conflict with Ukraine, underscoring the ongoing tension and complexity of the situation.