In a year-end speech to the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky promised an increase in domestically produced weapons in the coming year for the country’s war against Russia.
“And next year, the enemy will feel the wrath of domestic production,” Zelensky said in the speech Sunday. “Our weapons, our equipment, artillery, our shells, our drones, our naval ‘greetings’ to the enemy and at least a million Ukrainian FPV drones.”
“All of which we will generously use,” he continued. “On land, in the sky, and, of course, at sea.”
Zelensky praised the Ukrainian soldiers, medics and “everyone who works and fights every day” to help end the nearly two-year-long war with Russia. He said Ukrainian pilots are “already mastering” F-16 jets, and they will “definitely” be seen in the skies so “our enemies can certainly see what our real wrath is.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin also gave a New Year’s address. He did not mention Ukraine by name in his speech, but the war was a central theme in his remarks, in which he vowed that Russia would “never back down.” A recent report from The New York Times found that Putin may be open to a cease-fire, so long as Russia could still declare victory.
Twenty-two months after it invaded Ukraine, Russia is continuing its assault against the country. It recently conducted what a Ukrainian Air Force commander called the “most massive aerial attack” of the war, in which the air force said it intercepted 114 of 158 missiles and drones launched by Russia.
The strike and year-end messages from each leader come as fighting has slowed to a near-standstill before winter and both sides suffer the effects of a long and costly conflict.
In his address, Zelensky said it did not matter how many missiles and attacks “the enemy” will fire, Ukrainians “will still rise.”
Ukraine has continued to push the United States for additional military aid that it says is critical for its defense in the war. Zelensky failed to convince Congress to pass and aid bill before both chambers adjourned for a holiday break.
Congress is expected to restart negotiations over a package that combines aid for the U.S. southern border and aid for Ukraine after lawmakers return to Washington.
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