No New Year’s silence: Russia also sent Iranian drones to Ukraine on the last night of 2022.

Ukraine has entered the New Year accompanied by Russian airstrikes. The Ukrainian Air Force announced on Sunday that 45 Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze combat drones had been shot down.
“It was not possible to spoil the celebration for the Ukrainians,” the armed forces said in a statement.

Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko assumes further Russian attacks on the Ukrainian capital. “Russia is mobilizing more forces, we expect up to 300,000 soldiers to launch another attack on our country,” he wrote in a guest post for the picture on sunday.

“Kyiv was and remains a target”

One must expect at any time that Russian President Vladimir Putin will order a new attack on Kyiv.

Russia had tried to capture the Ukrainian capital early in the war of aggression, but had failed.

Since then, the fighting has mainly concentrated in the east and south of the country. But Kyiv is also still in the sights of the Russian troops and is repeatedly the target of air raids. Around half a dozen explosions – suspected to be from cruise missiles and rockets – were heard in attacks shortly before the New Year celebrations in Kyiv on Saturday. Klitschko spoke of destruction.

Decree: 137,000 additional Russian soldiers

More than ten months after the start of Moscow’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the start of the new year in Russia will see the number of military personnel increase by 137,000. A corresponding decree on the increase to around 1.15 million contract soldiers and conscripts ordered by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin in August officially came into force on Sunday. According to this, the army strength should total more than two million people.

The remaining military personnel are civilian personnel, including administrative employees. In September, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said new units were being created. The minister accused the western states, led by the United States, of taking a course against Russia and its allies; he justified the increase in the number of soldiers. “The NATO bloc is moving further towards the Russian borders,” Shoigu said.

Since the start of the war against Ukraine ordered by Putin on February 24, the Russian army has repeatedly had to contend with major personnel problems. The increase in the number of military personnel is now intended to remedy the situation. In addition, Putin had called up around 300,000 reservists for a partial mobilization – accompanied by protests in the population and a mass flight of men abroad.

The people in Russia fear that Putin could decide on further mobilization in order to still win his war in Ukraine, which has been overshadowed by many defeats.

Zelensky: “Year of Our Victory”

In a congratulatory message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wished his fellow citizens a Happy New Year and the “Year of our Victory”.

“Want miracles today? Ukrainians created them a long time ago,” Zelensky wrote. He also posted a photo of himself and his wife Olena in front of a modestly decorated Christmas tree on Telegram. And with a touch of irony and a reference to the repeated Russian attacks on the Ukrainian power grid, he declared: “Do you want light? It is in each of us, even when there is no electricity.” Even when asked about a desire for adventure and travel, Zelensky could not resist a dig at the bitter reality of the Russian war of aggression. “The Ukrainians have already gotten too much of it.”

So only one wish remains. “And it will not come true through a miracle, but through our work, through struggle, mutual help, humanity,” Zelenskyy wrote, concluding his wishes with “Happy New Year! The year of our victory.”

Russia uses the drones under its own name Geran – in German: geranium – to cover up Iranian involvement. Russia and Iran have long cooperated militarily.

“The soldiers of the Ukrainian Air Force congratulate their indomitable nation on the New Year 2023! Together to victory!”, the statement on Sunday continued.

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