Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Kyiv has gained intelligence suggesting that Russia is planning a prolonged attack by using Iranian-supplied Shahed drones.
In an overnight address Monday, Zelenskyy warned that in the two days since the world welcomed in 2023, Ukraine has stopped more than 80 drone strikes.
“We have information that Russia is planning a prolonged attack with Shaheds,” he said.
Zelenskyy said that Russia is looking to exhaust “our people, our air defense, our energy sector” by constantly pummeling the country with air strikes – a strategy Moscow has been employing for months but which it has escalated as winter sets in.
“Now is the time when everyone involved in the protection of the sky should be especially attentive,” he said addressing Ukrainian pilots and those in charge of air defense.
“Our task is to give Ukraine every day successes,” he continued. “Each shot down drone, each shot down missile, each day with electricity for our people and minimal schedules of blackouts are exactly such victories.”
Moscow and Tehran, Iran, have repeatedly denied any drone partnership or the use of Iranian supplied drones in Ukraine despite evidence supplied by Kyiv and backed by Western defense officials.
Zelenskyy urged his forces on the front lines, particularly those fighting in areas like Bakhmut – which has seen intense ground warfare for months – to continue to hold the line amid harsh winter conditions, which has likely slowed fighting in other areas like Kherson.
“No matter how difficult it is now, we must endure it. For it to be easier at the end of this winter,” he said.
Ukrainian forces have continued to push the lines eastward in areas like Donetsk, and fighting has begun to intensify in the Donbas region where Russian backed forces have fought since 2014.
Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi championed this week that Ukrainian forces have liberated 40% of the territory Russia occupied following its invasion.
Zaluahnyi also said that in the regions where Russian forces remain Moscow has lost roughly 28% of the land.
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