Russian dictator Vladimir Putin on Jan. 1 vowed to intensify attacks on Ukraine in retaliation for explosions in Belgorod that Moscow claimed was a Ukrainian attack.
Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the Dec. 30 attack on Belgorod, one day after Russia attacked Ukraine’s cities with 158 missiles and drones, killing at least 39 people. As usual, Russia deliberately targeted residential areas.
"(The Ukrainians) want to scare us and create uncertainty within our country," Putin said during a visit to a military hospital. "We will intensify attacks. No crime against civilians will remain unpunished."
Putin claimed that Russia avoids attacking civilians, accusing Kyiv of targeting them, although each country’s track record says the exact opposite.
Putin also boasted that Russia's strategic situation in the full-scale war is "satisfactory" and that things are turning to its advantage.
At least 24 people were killed in the Dec. 30 attack on Belgorod and more than 100 were injured, the Russian authorities have claimed. The Kyiv Independent could not independently verify these figures.