At least 3 killed in Ukraine from Russian missile attacks, emergency service says
From Olga Voitovych in Kyiv
At least three people were killed and seven were injured in nationwide missile attacks, according to the latest figures provided by the Ukrainian State Emergency Service.
The service's press officer, Oleksandr Khorunzhyy, told CNN that two people were killed in the northeastern Kharkiv region, while one person was killed in the eastern Donetsk region.
In the Kyiv region, four people were injured in the attacks, while two were injured in the Kharkiv region and one was injured in the western Ivano-Frankivsk region.
“As of 16:00 [4 p.m. local time], 41 objects including 21 residential buildings were damaged,” he said.
Earlier, a local official said one of the the two people killed in Kharkiv was a man who died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
“Incoming hits of enemy missiles were recorded in the region. All of them were targeted at our critical infrastructure facilities,” the head of the regional military administration, Oleh Syniehubov, said on his Telegram account.
11:27 a.m. ET, December 29, 2022
Bulgaria calls journalist's placement on Russian "wanted" list an attack on free speech
From CNN's Radina Gigova
Placing Bulgarian investigative journalist Christo Grozev on Russia’s "wanted" list is an unacceptable "attack on freedom of speech," acting Bulgarian Prime Minister Galab Donev said Thursday.
"I would like to note that Bulgaria has not been informed through the established channels by the Russian side about the charges against Mr. Grozev," Donev said as he opened a government meeting. "For us this act is unacceptable, it represents an attack on freedom of speech and an attempt to intimidate a Bulgarian citizen."
On Monday, Russia placed Grozev, who is the lead Russia investigator at the journalism group Bellingcat, on its "wanted" list, according to Russia's Interior Ministry. Information published on the ministry’s website said he was “wanted under an article of the Criminal Code,” without specifying the exact article.
Russian ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova has been summoned to the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs "for an explanation on the case," Donev said, adding that it will "express official protest" against the search warrant and insist on receiving more information.
After meeting Bulgarian officials Thursday, Mitrofanova told journalists she had no information why Grozev was wanted. She said he is wanted only in Russia and not other countries, according to Bulgarian state broadcaster BNT.
The "Russian ambassador says she doesn't know why I am on Russia's 'Wanted' list, but that 'we won't chase him around the world, and this just means that one more time we are telling him he's not wanted here,'" Grozev tweeted Thursday. "So.. they 'want' me, to tell me they not 'want' me?"
After Mitrofanova's comments to reporters, the Russian Embassy in Bulgaria's capital of Sofia released a statement.
It said that Moscow had "clarified the situation with H. Grozev, emphasizing that a violation of Russian legislation leads to corresponding legal consequences, independent of the type of activity of the accused/suspect person or his citizenship," according to BNT.
The embassy also said "it is not about intimidation of the journalist or any threat to his life," according to the Bulgarian state media outlet.
9:21 a.m. ET, December 29, 2022
Kyiv residents defiant in the face of large missile attack by Russia
From CNN's Daria Markina-Tarasova and Dima Olenchenko in Kyiv
As Russia carried out a large attack on Ukraine, Kyiv residents who were woken up by air raid sirens and sounds of explosion remained defiant.
Thirty-four-year-old Anastasiia Hryn woke up to the sound of air raid sirens in the Ukrainian capital. She went down to the basement shelter in her building along with her son when she heard the first explosion.
“I expected this kind of attack before the New Year. There were reports in the news that something like that was being prepared... That's why I wasn't particularly surprised by the shelling…. If there is an alarm, you monitor whether there are missiles launches. If yes, you go down to the basement of the house to the bomb shelter,” she told CNN.
After the sirens gave the all clear, life went back to normal, Hyrn said. Parents took their children to school and kindergarten, people went to their offices. “In the elevator I met my neighbors with their child who were in hurry to get to the cinema for the new Avatar movie on time,” she said.
Anna Kovalchuk is determined not to have Russians ruin upcoming New Year's celebrations. “I'm more worried that most likely the will be no electricity on New Year's Eve and the holiday will have to be spent in the dark. But I began to prepare myself for such a scenario in advance, stocked up on garlands, power banks, so the blackout would upset us, but not stop us,” she said.
“I formulated my attitude to what is happening in the first days of a full-scale war, and since then it has not changed — Ukraine will win, and Russia will lose,” she said.
Roman Grischuk, a member of parliament, woke up to messages from his wife asking if he was okay. “I read that there were several hits in Kyiv. I quickly got water in case the water ran out and went to a safe place,” he told CNN. After ten months of war, it is hard to describe the feeling, he added. “The first thought is no one should die. But even that unfortunately the Russian attacks have turned into a routine,” he said.
Halyna Hladka’s stocked up on water as soon as the sirens sounded and quickly made breakfast for her family so they would have something to eat. After nearly two hours, they heard the sounds of explosions.
“It seemed to me that they were really close to our area but it turned out to be air defense,” she told CNN. “Not a single attack will cancel the fact that we will celebrate the new year with the family. In every person there is something stronger than dependence on electricity and water. Moreover, we have already become perfectly oriented on how to survive in such conditions. Anyway, we will celebrate the New Year and hope for the best,” she said.
7:57 a.m. ET, December 29, 2022
Ukraine says its defense forces shot down 54 of 69 Russian missiles
From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych
The Ukrainian military said that the majority of cruise missiles fired at Ukraine on Thursday were intercepted, with its defense forces shooting down 54 of 69, according to preliminary data.
"The enemy keeps resorting to its missile terror against the peaceful citizens of Ukraine," commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said on the messaging app Telegram. "According to preliminary data, 69 missiles were launched in total. 54 enemy cruise missiles were shot down by the assets of the Defence Forces of Ukraine."
Zaluzhnyi said the Russians had launched air and sea-based cruise missiles, as well as anti-aircraft guided missiles such as the S-300 at energy infrastructure facilities. The Ukrainian military also shot down 11 Iranian Shahed drones, which are designed to detonate on impact.
There were conflicting reports on the scale of the missile attacks on Thursday. An adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, said in an earlier post that Russia had launched more than 120 missiles in the barrage, without offering further details. He said the intent of the attack was to "destroy critical infrastructure and kill civilians en masse."
3:09 p.m. ET, December 29, 2022
It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.
From CNN's Eliza Mackintosh and Amarachie Orie
Explosions rattled villages and cities across Ukraine on Thursday in what Kyiv has called one of Moscow's largest missile barrages since the war began. The strikes have left several regions across Ukraine without power, with Lviv, Kyiv and Odesa hardest hit, officials said.
Here are the latest headlines:
"One of the most massive" Russian attacks: Ukraine's Defense Ministry said Thursday that Russia had launched "one of the most massive missile attacks" since it launched its invasion in February, threatening to plummet the country into the darkness as the New Year holidays approach. "But they cannot defeat the Ukrainian people," it added.
Power outages across Ukraine: The wave of missile attacks left several Ukrainian regions without power. Ukraine's energy minister said that electrical infrastructure in Lviv, Kyiv and Odesa had been damaged and that the regions were experiencing emergency power outages.
Ukraine intercepts majority of missiles: The Ukrainian military said that the majority of cruise missiles fired at Ukraine on Thursday were intercepted, with its defense forces shooting down 54 of 69, according to preliminary data.
Russian missile attacks are "senseless barbarism": Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said those were the only words that came to mind seeing Moscow launch a fresh wave of attacks on Ukrainian cities ahead of the New Year, adding there could be "no neutrality" in the face of such aggression.
Russia won't negotiate under terms of Zelensky's peace plan: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that Moscow will not negotiate with Kyiv on the basis of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s proposed 10-point peace formula, which he presented to world leaders in November.
Ukraine's intelligence chief says the war is at a stalemate:"The situation is just stuck," Kyrylo Budanov told the BBC in an interview. "It doesn't move." Neither Ukraine nor Russia have been able to make any substantial gains, as Kyiv awaits more advanced weapons from Western allies.
7:31 a.m. ET, December 29, 2022
Wave of Russian strikes one of the "most massive" since war began, Ukrainian Defense Ministry says
From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv
Explosions rattled villages and cities across Ukraine on Thursday in what the government has said was one of Russia's largest missile barrages since the war began.
"Russian terrorists have been saving one of the most massive missile attacks since the beginning of the full-scale invasion for the last days of the year," Ukraine's Defense Ministry said in a statement on Twitter. "They dream that Ukrainians will celebrate the New Year in darkness and cold. But they cannot defeat the Ukrainian people."
According to preliminary data, Ukraine's Air Force said that Russian forces had launched 69 cruise missiles and that it had downed 54 of those, along with Ukraine's Defense Forces. The Air Force said that it had also repelled attacks from Iranian-made Shahed drones, which are designed to explode on contact with their targets.
Earlier on Thursday, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a post on Twitter that Russia had launched more than 120 missiles in the attack, without giving more details. He said the focus of the onslaught was to "destroy critical infrastructure and kill civilians en masse."
6:56 a.m. ET, December 29, 2022
The war is at a stalemate, Ukraine's intelligence chief says
From CNN's Eliza Mackintosh
The war has reached a stalemate, with neither Ukraine nor Russia able to make any substantial gains, Ukrainian intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov has said, as Kyiv awaits more weapons from the United States and other Western allies.
"The situation is just stuck," Kyrylo Budanov told the BBC in an interview. "It doesn't move."
Since Ukrainian forces reclaimed the southern city of Kherson in November, much of the fiercest fighting has raged around Bakhmut, in the eastern Donetsk region, where Budanov visited frontline positions earlier in the week. Both sides have been locked in brutal battle there since Russian forces launched their siege on the city in earnest in May.
The freezing winter conditions have slowed advances and Russian forces are "now completely at a dead end" after heavy losses, Budanov said. But he added that Ukrainian troops were unable to progress either without more resources, particularly weapons supplies.
"We can't defeat them in all directions comprehensively. Neither can they," Budanov said. "We're very much looking forward to new weapons supplies, and to the arrival of more advanced weapons."
Budanov also poured cold water on the idea that Russian forces might launch another attack from Belarus, where Moscow has been holding joint military exercises with Minsk. "As of now, I don't see any signs of preparations for an invasion of Kyiv or northern areas from Belarus," he said.
8:06 a.m. ET, December 29, 2022
Russian missiles hit energy facility in Ukraine's Ivano-Frankivsk region, local military head says
From CNN's Olga Viotovych in Kyiv
Russian missiles struck an energy facility in Ivano-Frankivsk, according to the head of the region's military administration, as western Ukraine reeled from attacks on its power grid.
"Today, Russian terrorists have launched another massive missile attack on Ukrainian cities and villages," Svitlana Onyshchuk said in a post on the messaging app Telegram on Thursday. "Unfortunately, this time the danger has not bypassed Prykarpattia [another name for the Ivano-Frankivsk region]."
"The enemy hit one of the energy facilities in the region, resulting in a fire on the total area of 50 square meters. As of 11.25, the fire was localized, there were no casualties," she said.
"Another missile damaged a private residential building in the territory of Tlumach community, but did not explode. There were no people in the house at the time of the missile hit. Fortunately, no one was injured," Onyshchuk added.
Some background: Ukraine's Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said that electrical infrastructure in the country's west, as well as Kyiv and Odesa, were particularly hard hit in the wave of strikes on Thursday.
6:17 a.m. ET, December 29, 2022
Russian missile attacks are "senseless barbarism," Ukrainian foreign minster says
From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described the latest wave of Russian missile attacks as "senseless barbarism" on Thursday.
"Senseless barbarism. These are the only words that come to mind seeing Russia launch another missile barrage at peaceful Ukrainian cities ahead of New Year," Kuleba said on Twitter, adding that there could be "no neutrality" in the face of such attacks.
The barrage of Russian missiles, one of the largest waves of attacks, hit several Ukrainian cities Thursday, damaging civilian infrastructure and knocking out power.