Ukraine attack kills 63 Russian soldiers in the East, Moscow says: Live updates

A hotel in Kiev, Ukraine, was badly damaged after a Russian air strike on Saturday.Credit…Laura Boushnak for The New York Times

KYIV, Ukraine — As small crowds gathered on Saturday at sites damaged by rocket attacks, people talked about close calls, an interrupted New Year’s Eve and the extreme anger towards Russia for attacking on a holiday.

The year has ended the same way it has for residents of the capital and other cities, with families flocking to safer areas of their homes amid air raid sirens and explosions. .

The outrage over the airstrikes on cities far from the front lines is all the more apparent because Ukraine has won on the battlefield and the attacks do not serve a direct military purpose. President Volodymyr Zelensky has called such strikes “revenge of the losers”.

Viktoria Dubrovina, a retired subway system employee, heard what she described as explosions in the sky and then explosions near the auditorium, known as the Ukraine Palace, against represent her apartment building in the center of Kiev.

“I don’t know what to say,” she said. “It’s outrageous. We know how vile they are, and everyone knows they’re ready to strike on holiday, in theory. But we hope something will change. But they made it.”

The blast shattered windows, ripped a five-story-high hole in the wall of a hotel and left concrete slabs and broken glass littered the streets. Insulation strip blows back.

Residential areas in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities came under intense shelling in December, as Russia attempted to destroy vital infrastructure in the country.Credit…Laura Boushnak for The New York Times

The Palace of Ukraine, one of the largest concert halls in the country, usually hosts children’s plays on New Year’s Eve, but this year it was closed because of power outages from previous strikes, said Andriy. Vydysh, the venue’s deputy director, said. said in an interview. Lobby and dressing room damaged.

Ihor Suruchanu, a lawyer, came to inspect a nearby building at the request of a client. He said the structure was still standing, but the blast wave had penetrated it, shattering windows and even ripping interior doors from their frames.

He said that the fact that a residential area was attacked did not dismay him – it showed that Russia was in a desperate situation.

“When I look at this, I think we’re going to win,” he said. He said he was unaware of military targets or even about the electrical infrastructure in the area; a nearby factory that used to make military electronics had closed years earlier.

“Of course, they do this especially on New Year’s Eve,” Mr. Suruchanu said. He said that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia “wants to ruin his holiday with fireworks, leave us without electricity and punish us because we don’t want to be Russian”.

About a mile away, a rocket or debris crashed into a residential area, exploding with a deafening explosion that sent 26-year-old Iryna Sidorets running into the basement while holding her 5-year-old daughter Halyna in her arms.

She only realized after rushing out that she was barefoot and the stairs were covered in shards of glass. She stepped carefully and avoided getting hurt.

As dusk fell over Kyiv on New Year’s Eve, Ms. Sidorets said she did not know where she and Halyna would spend the holidays. The apartment complex was evacuated because of a gas leak. She has prepared pizza, Halyna’s favorite food, and holiday gifts that are still in the apartment.

“Now, we don’t know what’s going to happen or where we’re going to spend the night,” she said.

Oksana Trufanova also ran into the basement of the building when the explosion started, taking her disabled child with her. Then, after the strikes, she stood on the sidewalk repeating “I hate them!”

The explosion blew the windows off their hinges in her apartment. They can be fixed, but the vacation she has planned won’t happen. She had prepared dumplings with cherries and dumplings with potatoes, a daughter-in-law’s favorite dishes, for New Year’s Eve dinner.

“I screamed because my strength was a bit exhausted,” Ms. Trufanova said.

At a residential building in Kiev that was hit during strikes, residents cleared debris.Credit…Laura Boushnak for The New York Times

Oleksandr Chubko and Nikita Simonchuk contributed reporting from Kyiv.


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