In response to Russian rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities, President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced further expansion of the air defense system. “In the new year, Ukrainian air defense will be even stronger and more effective,” Zelensky said in his daily video address on Friday evening. Ukraine’s air defense could become the strongest in Europe, he said, referring to the announced Patriot battery from the United States. “It will be a security guarantee not only for our country but for the entire continent.”
In the past few weeks, the air defense system of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has suffered a relatively high number of casualties in large-scale Russian attacks by cruise missiles, rockets and so-called kamikaze drones. Due to the mass of incoming missiles, not all missiles can be repelled. The Ukrainian military, which already uses several foreign anti-aircraft systems, is waiting to deploy the Patriot battery promised by the US government. Ukrainian soldiers are currently undergoing training in this system.
The Russian military has been targeting Ukrainian energy grids since October, causing massive damage to electricity and water supplies over a long period of time. The aim is to reduce the population during the winter and increase pressure on the Ukrainian government.
Kyiv has been on high alert for nearly 29 days since the war began
Since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began on February 24, warning sirens have sounded around 640 times in the capital Kyiv. In total, since the end of February, the state of alert has been in effect for almost 700 hours, Serhii Babko, head of Kiev’s military administration, said on Friday. “It was practically 29 days, almost an entire calendar month, that the city’s citizens spent in shelters and bunkers.” In total, the capital suffered 52 airstrikes, killing 120 people, including five children. 495 people were injured in rocket and cruise missile attacks.
Babko said more than 600 buildings were damaged in the attacks. The capital’s critical infrastructure has been significantly damaged. The number of casualties and damaged buildings could not be independently verified.
Kiev: Five years to rebuild Russia’s military
According to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, the Russian military has lost its effectiveness over the years due to losses in Ukraine. It will take at least five years for the Russian armed forces to rebuild. “According to the findings of NATO intelligence, the Russians have suffered heavy losses in tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers and soldiers,” Reznikov was quoted as saying by the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper.
“The regular armed forces of the Russian Federation can be restored in five years at the earliest, maybe in ten years,” the minister said. The same applies to Russia’s missile capabilities. After all, it is a war of resources. “And they (NATO) can count on these resources.”
Zalushnyj: God is on our side
Ukrainian army chief Valery Zalushny encouraged his soldiers in a video message at the start of the year and the upcoming Orthodox Christmas. “We don’t want war, but we accept fighting,” he said. “God is on our side.” Although this Christmas has the “taste of tears and the color of blood,” Salushni said the country has the strength to repel its enemies. “Let our victory mark the beginning of the prosperity of Ukraine and the end of Russia.”
According to the military, since the Russian invasion and the declaration of a state of war in Ukraine, several thousand young Ukrainians have sought to avoid military service. Ukrainian border forces announced on Friday that 12,000 men were caught trying to illegally cross the border to the west. 15 people died while crossing the border.
In Russia too, thousands of young men tried to avoid military service. After partial demobilization in September, thousands fled abroad, and de facto small Russian colonies were established in some former Soviet republics.