Zelensky vows to up Ukraine’s domestic production of arms in 2024 in new year’s message

Zelensky vows Ukraine will win the war, while Putin barely mentions it at all, in contrasting new year speeches

Shweta Sharma
Monday 01 January 2024 06:22

Explosions in Russian city caught on dashcam footage amid Ukrainian airstrikes

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to boost the country’s military manufacturing in 2024, promising that Russia will feel the “wrath of domestic production”.

In his new year’s message, Mr Zelensky said Ukraine will build at least a million drones, adding: “All of which we will generously use.”

Russia pounded Odesa in southern Ukraine with missiles and drones earlier on New Year’s Eve, before the leaders of the two warring countries gave contrasting messages to their people.

Next month it will be two years since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, plunging the world into a global food crisis and attempting to oust Mr Zelensky’s democratically-elected government by force.

Yet his own four-minute new year’s address avoided making any direct reference at all to the war he started. “I want to wish every Russian family all the best,” Mr Putin said, calling his soldiers “heroes... at the forefront of the fight for truth. We are one country, one big family,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin makes his annual New Year address to the nation in Moscow, Russia

In his 20-minute video address, Mr Zelensky said: “Each of us fought, worked, waited, helped, lived and hoped this year.

“No matter how many missiles the enemy fires, no matter how many shellings and attacks,” he pledged, “we will still rise.”

Mr Zelensky said the Ukrainian air defence forces worked every night to defend Ukrainian skies “so that we could hear the ‘all clear’ call 6,000 times” in 2023.

“And next year, the enemy will feel the wrath of domestic production. Our weapons, our equipment, artillery, our shells, our drones, our naval ‘greetings’ to the enemy and at least a million Ukrainian FPV drones,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recording his video address in front of the sign 'Avdiivka is Ukraine

Russian and Ukrainian officials traded accusations over New Year’s Day strikes that killed four people on Monday morning in Donetsk, a Russian-held Ukrainian regional capital, while one was killed in the Russian strikes in Odesa on New Year’s Eve.

The day prior, Russia suffered what seemed to be the most deadly individual assault on its territory since the start of Mr Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The Saturday night strike on the Russian city of Belgorod resulted in 24 reported fatalities and left over 100 people injured, according to Russian officials.

Russian officials blamed Ukraine for the attack and retaliated with drone strikes in Kharkiv, just 60 miles across the Belgorod city border.

“These are not military facilities, but cafes, residential buildings and offices,” Kharkiv’s mayor, Ihor Terekhov, claimed.

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