Fresh wave of Russian missiles hit Ukraine in New Year's Day attack

Vincent McAviney delivers the latest on Russia's overnight attack on Ukraine

Ukraine was struck by fresh missile attacks during the early hours of New Year's Day as the death toll from Russia’s massive New Year's Eve assault across the country climbed to at least three.

Air raid sirens sounded in the capital shortly after midnight, followed by a barrage of missiles that interrupted Ukrainians' small celebrations at home.

Ukraine’s Air Force command said 45 Iranian-made kamikaze drones were destroyed overnight - 13 of them before midnight and 32 early on Sunday morning.

One of the kamikaze drones fired at Kyiv on Saturday night was inscribed with the message "Happy New Year", according to the Kyiv Post.

Another strike on Sunday afternoon in the southern Zaporizhzhia region killed one person, according to the the head of the regional military administration, Alexander Starukh.

Ukrainian officials say Russia is now deliberately targeting civilians, seeking to create a climate of fear and destroy morale.

In a video address on Sunday night, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised his citizens' “sense of unity, of authenticity, of life itself.”

The Russians, he said, “will not take away a single year from Ukraine. They will not take away our independence. We will not give them anything.”

Olena Zelenska, Ukraine's first lady, condemned the attacks on Twitter, writing: "Ruining lives of others is a disgusting habit of our neighbours".

The strikes came 36 hours after widespread missile attacks Russia launched on Thursday to damage energy infrastructure facilities.

Russia has attacked Ukrainian power and water supplies almost weekly since October, increasing the suffering of Ukrainians, while its ground forces struggle to hold ground and advance. Nighttime shelling in parts of the southern city of Kherson killed one person and blew out hundreds of windows in a children’s hospital, according to deputy presidential chief of staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

Ukrainian forces reclaimed the city in November after Russia's forces withdrew across the Dnieper River, which cuts through the Kherson region. When shells hit the children's hospital on Saturday night, surgeons were operating on a 13-year-old boy who was seriously wounded in a nearby village that evening, Kherson Gov. Yaroslav Yanushevych said.

The shelling blew out windows in the operating room, and the boy was transferred in serious condition to a hospital about 62 miles away in Mykolaiv. Elsewhere, a 22-year-old woman died of wounds from a rocket attack in the eastern town of Khmelnytskyi, the city’s mayor said.

People stand next to damaged building at the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv. Credit: AP

Instead of fireworks, Oleksander Dugyn said he and his friends and family in Kyiv watched the sparks caused by Ukrainian air defense forces countering Russian attacks. “We already know the sound of rockets, we know the moment they fly, we know the sound of drones. The sound is like the roar of a moped,” said Dugin. “We hold on the best we can.”

On New Year's Day another Kyiv resident, Evheniya Shulzhenko, said: “Of course it was hard to celebrate fully because we understand that our soldiers can’t be with their family." But a “really powerful” end-of-year speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on New Year's Eve lifted her spirits and made her proud to be Ukrainian.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor who led the case against Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be tried for war crimes.

Sir Geoffrey Nice, who worked with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said the case against the Russian leader “couldn’t be clearer”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House: “It is crimes against humanity because civilian targets should never be bombed or otherwise attacked."

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