Russia Launches Retaliatory Strikes on Ukraine, Targeting Military Facilities and Hotel

Sun Dec 31 2023
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MOSCOW: Russia launched a new wave of drone and missile strikes on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The attacks, conducted overnight, targeted military facilities, a hotel housing military commanders, and the headquarters of the Ukrainian Security Service for the Kharkiv region. Russia claimed the strikes were in response to Ukraine’s rocket attack on the Russian border city of Belgorod the previous day.

Officials in Kharkiv reported at least six missiles hitting the city, causing injuries to at least 28 people and significant damage to residential buildings, hotels, and medical facilities. The assault was followed by drone attacks on housing blocks, adding to the destruction in the city.

According to Russia’s statement, the attack specifically hit the former Kharkiv Palace Hotel and the Ukrainian Security Service headquarters in Kharkiv. The casualties reportedly included military and intelligence officers involved in Ukraine’s attack on Belgorod, as well as “foreign mercenaries and militants” preparing for cross-border raids.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region adjoining northern Ukraine, confirmed that the death toll from Saturday’s rocket attack on Belgorod had risen to 24, with 108 wounded and damage to 37 apartment buildings.

Ukraine Downs 21 Drones Launched by Russia

While there was no immediate official comment from Kyiv, the Ukrainian Air Force announced that it had successfully shot down 21 out of 49 drones launched by Russian forces overnight. Additionally, in the Kyiv region, a Russian drone attack ignited a fire at a critical infrastructure facility, according to local officials who did not disclose further details about the facility.

The Russian reports suggested that Ukrainian forces directed fire at military targets in Belgorod in retaliation for the extensive Russian bombardment of cities and infrastructure across Ukraine the previous day. The missiles were reportedly fired from the Kharkiv region across the border.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, ongoing since February 2022, has resulted in substantial civilian casualties and displacement, with both sides denying intentional targeting of non-combatants. The United Nations has reported over 10,000 civilian deaths in Ukraine, while acknowledging the actual figure may be much higher, and over six million displaced.


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