President of Russia, Vladimir Putin says Moscow will increase attacks against Ukraine, following days of aerial bombardment by both sides in the war which broke out Feb. 2022.
Speaking during a visit to a military hospital in Moscow, Putin said the military would continue targeting Ukrainian “military installations”.
He described an air raid on the Russian city of Belgorod by Ukraine a “deliberate strike against civilians”.
Twenty-four people were killed and more than 100 injured in the attack on Saturday.
Speaking to Russian servicemen on Monday, Putin said the war was turning in Moscow’s favour and he wanted the war to end quickly, but only on Russia’s terms.
He added that Ukraine’s Western supporters were the biggest obstacle to ending the conflict, but said their rhetoric was beginning to change as they started to realise they cannot “destroy” Russia.
On Sunday, Putin delivered his traditional New Year’s message where he hailed Russian soldiers as “heroes” without explicitly referring to the war in Ukraine.
In his own New Year’s message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised a sharp increase in the number of weapons the country produces in 2024, pledging to build at least a million drones.
Russia and Ukraine have exchanged deadly attacks over the past few days.
Ukraine attacked the Russia-held Ukrainian cities of Donetsk on New Year’s Eve, according to Moscow-installed officials, which killed at least four people and wounded 13.
On Saturday, Ukrainian forces launched a series of strikes on targets in south-west Russia, including the strike on Belgorod which Putin termed a “terrorist attack”.
Last week, Russia launched a widespread attack across several cities all across Ukraine, killing at least 45 people.
Those strikes were described by Kyiv as Russia’s biggest missile bombardment of the war so far.