Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Moscow could launch new strikes over Christmas, hours before Russian missiles killed at least five people in an attack on the southern city of Kherson.
“With the approaching holiday season, Russian terrorists may become active again,” Zelenskyy said late on Friday. “They despise Christian values and any values in general. Therefore, please heed the air raid signals, help each other and always take care of each other.”
The Russian attack on Kherson on Saturday also injured at least 35 people, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, said on Telegram.
Zelenskyy condemned the Kherson assault as an act of terror. “These are not military facilities,” he wrote on Facebook. “This is not a war according to the rules defined. It is terror, it is killing for the sake of intimidation and pleasure.”
Zelenskyy sent a stark warning to Russia, according to the transcript of his Friday address.
“Citizens of Russia must clearly understand that terror never goes unanswered,” he said.
The warning comes as Russia is likely to be limiting its strikes on key infrastructure due to a shortage of missiles, the U.K. Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
“Russia has likely limited its long-range missile strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure to around once a week due to the limited availability of cruise missiles,” the ministry said. A broader shortage of munitions is weighing on Russian military operations, it said, adding that “Russia is unlikely to have increased its stockpile of artillery munitions enough to enable large-scale offensive operations.”
Ukrainian troops killed another 480 Russians soldiers, Kyiv’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday, taking the overall Russian casualties to more than 101,000 since Moscow’s tanks rolled into Ukraine in February. The Ukrainian ministry also said that Russia lost another tank and more drones. POLITICO hasn’t independently verified these figures.
Zelenskyy also thanked the Netherlands for its new €2.5 billion support package for Ukraine. While the allocation of the funds will depend on Kyiv’s needs, the Dutch government said on Friday it expects the money to help fund “military aid, support essential repair and reconstruction activities and contribute financially to efforts to combat impunity.”
The Ukrainian president spoke after a meeting with his military commanders, saying that Kyiv is “preparing for different variants of actions of the terrorist state” and “will respond.” The country is also working to step up its diplomatic efforts toward traditional partners and “countries in which our influence is still less than we need,” such as Latin American and African nations, he said.