Ukrainians welcomed 2023 under the sounds of air defence systems blasting Russian missiles and drones out of the sky.
One Kamikaze drone even had ‘Happy New Year’ scrawled on it with a red marker pen.
Andrii Nebytov, chief of Kyiv’s police, posted the photo on his Telegram account, showing the sickening message, alongside a drawing of a bomb.
‘This wreckage is not at the front, where fierce battles are taking place, this is here, on a sports grounds, where children play,’ he wrote.
Explosions were heard across Ukraine minutes after midnight, forcing people to abandon their New Year’s Eve celebrations and head to bomb shelters.
Kyiv was hit particularly hard, with one person killed and 20 reported injured.
As the air raid sirens sounded, some people on their balconies could be heard shouting, ‘Glory to Ukraine, glory to heroes’.
City mayor Vitali Klitschko shared a picture on Telegram allegedly showing where a fragment of a rocket had hit a car.
He confirmed that explosions had been heard and that the capital’s air defence was working.
The air raid sirens began just after president Volodymyr Zelensky finished his New Year address, in which he praised those who were fighting against the Russian invasion.
He told citizens: ‘I want to wish all of us one thing – victory. And that is the main thing. One wish for all Ukrainians.
‘Let this year be the year of return. The return of our people. Soldiers – to their families. Prisoners – to their homes. Immigrants – to their Ukraine.
‘The return of our lands. And the temporarily occupied will become forever free.’
He added: ‘To the return to normal life. To happy moments without curfew. To earthly joys without air alerts. The return of what has been stolen from us. The childhood of our children, the peaceful old age of our parents.
‘May the New Year bring all of it. We are ready to fight for it. That’s why each of us is here. I’m here, we’re here, you’re here, everyone’s here. We’re all Ukraine.
‘Glory to Ukraine. Happy New Year.’
US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink reacted to Russia’s aggression on Twitter.
‘Russia coldly and cowardly attacked Ukraine in the early hours of the new year,’ she wrote.
‘But Putin still does not seem to understand that Ukrainians are made of iron.’
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