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Zelensky: Ukraine withstood the air strikes of the Russian army, and the air defense was forged more powerful than ever

In Kiev, a local resident hugs friends at a house damaged by a Russian missile strike. (29 December 2022)
In Kiev, a local resident hugs friends at a house damaged by a Russian missile strike. (29 December 2022)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday (December 30) that Ukraine continues to withstand and repel wave after wave of Russian air strikes, and Ukraine’s air defense systems are forged “more powerful than ever.”

“In the new year,” he added, “Ukraine’s air defense systems will become more powerful and effective.”

The Ukrainian leader said that Ukrainian air defense “can become the strongest in Europe” and guarantee the security not only of “our country but of the entire continent.”

Last week, the United States announced nearly $2 billion in additional military aid to Ukraine, including the Patriot air defense system, which is used to defend against aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.

Profile photo: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a video message to Ukrainians celebrating Christmas in December. (24 December 2022)
Profile photo: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a video message to Ukrainians celebrating Christmas in December. (24 December 2022)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on NATO members to provide Ukraine with more weapons.

Stoltenberg told Deutsche Presse (DPA) on Friday: “I call on the allies to do more. It is in the security interest of all of us to ensure that Ukraine wins and President Putin does not.

Stoltenberg said the demand for ammunition and spare parts is “enormous.” Reuters reported that he told Deutsche Presse that military support for Ukraine is the fastest way to peace.

“We know that most wars end at the negotiating table — and this one probably does — but we know that what Ukraine can achieve in these negotiations depends inseparably on the military situation,” he said.

Russian forces shelled Ukrainian towns along the entire front line from north to south, Ukrainian officials said Friday. The day before, Moscow fired dozens of missiles, the latest wave of Russian attacks on critical infrastructure.

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The Russian army has recently stepped up its bombing of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, firing dozens of missiles at civilian targets in the city from multiple locations. The delivery room of a hospital in Kherson was attacked. According to the recollections of the doctors there, there were still newborns left in the delivery room, and the doctors heard the shelling approaching and hurried to take the baby, and then the glass exploded. Russia denies attacking civilian targets. 

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a late Friday report that Russian forces tried to advance in Bakhmut and Awadivka in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, simultaneously firing at several towns and villages, and shelled settlements further west in Donetsk region, including the town of Fleda.

Ukrainian servicemen fired artillery at Russian positions on the outskirts of Udongbachmut. (30 December 2022)
Ukrainian servicemen fired artillery at Russian positions on the outskirts of Udongbachmut. (30 December 2022)

President Zelensky said that the Ukrainian army held its ground in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

“We have advanced a little bit in some parts of the front line,” he noted.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian army said that the Russian army shelled several towns near Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine. Ukraine recovered Kupyansk in September. The General Staff of the Ukrainian army said that the Russian army also shelled settlements in the Luhansk region. The Ukrainian army has made progress in the Luhansk region in recent weeks and hopes to continue its advance.

The Ukrainian army shelled the positions of the Russian army near the industrial town of Bakhmut on the front line in Donbas, and the battle between the two sides here killed thousands of soldiers. Ukrainian soldiers said that when humans began to pay attention to how to make Mars habitable, Moscow only stared at Bakhmut, which shows the mediocrity of the Russian invaders. The Ukrainian army sees stubborn resistance as the first line of defense to stop Putin’s totalitarian expansion, and they need the support of Europe and the United States. 

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Some parts of Zaporizhzhia Oblast in the south were also shelled by Russia, including Khuri Albler, which was contested by the two armies. In addition, Ukrainian-controlled Nikopol and its surroundings were shelled. Nikopol is located on the edge of the Kavhoka reservoir, opposite the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

On the southern Ukrainian front, Russian forces renewed their attacks on the infrastructure of the city of Kherson and the city of Kachikarivka, further north on the west bank of the Dnieper. Russian troops abandoned the city of Kherson last month.

Air raid sirens sounded late at night in the capital, Kiev, and continued until Friday. Reuters reported that several explosions and anti-aircraft fire were heard south of Kiev, and Ukrainian officials said that Russian forces dispatched 16 Iranian-made Witness drones.

The Ukrainian military says that all these drones were destroyed. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said several were targeted in Kiev, where an administrative building was damaged.

Putin and Xi Jinping deepen relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping vowed Friday to strengthen bilateral cooperation. In their opening remarks at a publicly broadcast videoconference, the two leaders welcomed what they described as increased collaboration “in the face of a turbulent international situation” and “geopolitical tensions.” Putin expressed a desire to expand military cooperation.

“In the face of growing geopolitical tensions, the importance of the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership of coordination is becoming a stabilizing factor,” he said. ”

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Chinese leader Xi Jinping via video link in the Kremlin. (30 December 2022)
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Chinese leader Xi Jinping via video link in the Kremlin. (30 December 2022)
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Putin also said he looked forward to Xi’s visit to Moscow in the spring. Such a visit “will show the world the strength of Russian-Chinese relations in key areas and will be the main political event of the year in bilateral relations.”

Xi Jinping said: “In the face of the chaotic and intertwined international situation, China and Russia should always adhere to the original intention of cooperation, maintain strategic concentration, strengthen strategic coordination, adhere to each other’s development opportunities and global partners, and strive to create more benefits for the two peoples and inject more stability into the world.”

But official Chinese transcripts of the video summit highlight differences in how the two sides approach their growing alliance. China did not mention Xi’s trip to Moscow, and while Beijing did not condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it stressed that “China will continue to uphold an objective and fair position.”

The United States has expressed concern about improving relations between Russia and China.

“We are closely monitoring Beijing’s activities,” a State Department spokesman said. “Beijing claims neutrality, but its actions make it clear that it remains engaged in a close relationship with Russia.”

U.S. officials have repeatedly said they have not seen China providing substantial support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China could be sanctioned if it provided substantial support.

(This article draws on reports from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters.)

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