Belarus claims it shot down a Ukrainian S-300 missile near its border
Russia’s ally Belarus claims it has shot down a Ukrainian S-300 missile near its border during Putin’s explosives onslaught on Ukraine this morning – and demands Zelensky’s men launch ‘thorough investigation’
- S-300 is said to have come down in Brest region, 9 miles from Ukraine border
- It came hours after Russian forces conducted a major bombardment of Ukraine
- Attacks followed swiftly after the Kremlin rejected Zelensky’s peace proposals
- Putin today also commissioned warships and submarines for Russian navy
Belarus claimed it shot down a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile near its border during one of Russia’s heaviest aerial onslaughts against Ukraine today, demanding Ukraine carries out a ‘thorough investigation’.
The S-300, a Soviet-era air defense system used by both Russia and Ukraine, is said to have come down near the village of Harbacha in the Brest region, nine miles from the border with Ukraine, according to Belarus.
The Ukrainian ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry in Minsk to receive a formal protest while spokesperson Anatoly Glaz described the incident as ‘extremely serious’.
‘We demanded that the Ukrainian side conduct a thorough investigation,…hold those responsible to account and take comprehensive measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future,’ he added.
Investigators gathered near fragments of what Belarus’ defense ministry said were parts of a Ukrainian S-300 missile brought down by Belarusian air defenses
Rescuers clear debris of homes destroyed in the outskirts of Kyiv on 29 December 2022 following heavy missile strikes
A Ukrainian military spokesman in effect acknowledged that the missile was a Ukrainian stray, saying the incident was ‘nothing strange, a result of air defense’ and something that ‘has happened more than once.’
Meanwhile the military commissar of the Brest region, Oleg Konovalov, played the incident down in a video posted on social media by the state-run BelTA news agency saying: locals had ‘absolutely nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, these things happen.’
Belarus allowed Moscow to use its territory in February as a launchpad for the invasion of Ukraine, and there has been a growing flurry of Russian and Belarusian military activity in Belarus in recent months.
Minsk has, however, insisted that it is not participating in the war, and will not participate unless its own security is threatened by Ukraine or Ukraine’s Western allies.
The incident occurred as Russia launched the biggest wave of attacks on cities across Ukraine in weeks, damaging power stations and other critical infrastructure.
Distraught civilians were pictured consoling one another amid the debris following the attacks which constituted one of Russia’s largest aerial bombardments of Ukrainian civilian centres of the war so far.
Aftermath of Russian missile strike on a residential area in the Darnytsky district of Kyiv, Ukraine
A local resident Yana embraces a friend as she reacts next to her mother’s house damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine December 29, 2022
Anhelina, right, watches as emergency workers remove debris of her house, destroyed following a Russian missile attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022
Local officials said attacks killed at least two people around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and wounded at least seven people across the country, although the toll of the attacks was growing as officials assessed the day’s events.
‘A massive air raid. More than 100 missiles in several waves,’ presidential office adviser Oleksiy Arestovych wrote on Facebook, while another adviser Mykhailo Podolyak claimed more than 120 missiles had been fired at Ukraine.
Mayors of the capital Kyiv, Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv and the western city of Lviv all reported that Russian missiles had caused a series of explosions, while blasts were also heard in Zhytomyr, Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk, according to local media reports.
Russia fired 69 missiles at energy facilities and Ukrainian forces shot down 54, Ukrainian military chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi said.
The attack also damaged 18 residential buildings and 10 pieces of critical infrastructure in 10 regions, according to Ukraine’s defense ministry.
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in ceremony to commission new warships into the Russian navy, via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, 29 December 2022
Russia’s newly commissioned warships included the Grad corvette, the Anatoly Shlemov minesweeper and the Generalissimus Suvorov nuclear submarine (Putin seen during video-link)
Vladimir Putin also commissioned several new warships and a nuclear-powered submarine into Russia’s navy today, just hours after the missile attacks across Ukraine.
The Russian president gave the green light for Russian flags to be hoisted on the new vessels via video link from his Novo-Ogaryovo presidential residence outside Moscow this afternoon and vowed to strengthen his armed forces.
During his two decades in power, Putin has brought about a technological revamp of his armed forces’ capabilities, equipping the navy with new warships and adding hypersonic missiles, described by Putin as ‘invincible’, to Russia’s arsenal.
Among today’s newly-commissioned vessels were a corvette, a minesweeper and the Generalissimus Suvorov nuclear-powered submarine that is capable of launching ballistic missiles.
The blitz came hard on the heels of the Kremlin’s rejection of a Ukrainian peace plan, as both Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov insisted that Kyiv accept Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
Rescuers work at a site of a residential house damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine December 29, 2022
Ukrainian air defence system intercepts a rocket launched by Russian forces in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2022
The Ukrainian Air Force said Russia first launched an assault of ‘kamikaze’ drones overnight before following it up with waves of air- and sea-based cruise missiles.
The widespread attack was the latest in a series of Russian strikes targeting vital infrastructure across Ukraine.
Moscow has launched such attacks on weekly basis since October, causing widespread blackouts and cutting water supplies.
Mr Podolyak said that Russia was aiming to ‘destroy critical infrastructure and kill civilians en masse’.
‘We’re waiting for further proposals from ”peacekeepers”,’ he wrote ironically on Twitter.
Kharkiv’s governor Oleg Synegubov said ‘critical infrastructure’ was targeted in the region and four missiles hit civilian neighbourhoods in the east and south of the city, while Kyiv’s Vitali Klitschko claimed that ‘forty percent of the capital’s consumers are without electricity after the Russian attack.’
Klitschko added: ‘For the moment, there are three wounded in Kyiv, including a 14-year-old girl. They are all in hospital.’
People shelter in the metro tunnels beneath the city of Kyiv as Russia unleashed a barrage of rocket and drone attacks this morning
People take shelter inside a metro station during massive Russian missile attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine December 29, 2022
A police investigator works at a site of a residential house damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine December 29, 2022
The Ukrainian Air Force said Russia first launched an assault of ‘kamikaze’ drones overnight before following it up with waves of air- and sea-based cruise missiles
People take shelter inside a metro station during massive Russian missile attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine December 29, 2022
A structure is burning following a missile strike by Russian forces on December 28, 2022 in Kostiantynivka, Ukraine
Power cuts were announced in the Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk regions, aimed at minimising potential damage to the energy infrastructure.
Ukrainian authorities in several regions said some incoming Russian missiles were intercepted.
The governor of southern Ukraine’s Mykolaiv province, Vitaliy Kim, said five missiles were shot down over the Black Sea, while the military’s command north said two were downed over the Sumy region, located on the border with Russia in the country’s northeast.
Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko said air defence shot down 21 missiles over the region.
‘Fragments of one of the enemy missiles fell onto a residential building, fortunately there were no casualties,’ he said.
Kyiv mayor Klitschko said 16 missiles were shot down over Kyiv.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in a video address urged Ukrainians to hug loved ones, tell friends they appreciate them, support colleagues, thank their parents and rejoice with their children more often.
‘We have not lost our humanity, although we have endured terrible months,’ he said. ‘And we will not lose it, although there is a difficult year ahead.’
Ukrainian servicemen fire with a CAESAR self-propelled howitzer towards Russian positions in eastern Ukraine on December 28, 2022
Zelensky is vigorously pushing a 10-point peace plan that envisages Russia respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and pulling out all its troops
There is still no prospect of talks to end the war.
Zelensky is vigorously pushing a 10-point peace plan that envisages Russia respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and pulling out all its troops.
But Moscow dismissed it on Wednesday, reiterating Kyiv must accept Russia’s annexation of the four regions – Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south.
There can be no peace plan ‘that does not take into account today’s realities regarding Russian territory, with the entry of four regions into Russia’, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Zelensky’s idea of driving Russia out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea with Western help and getting Moscow to pay damages to Kyiv is an ‘illusion’, the RIA news agency reported.
TASS cited Lavrov as saying that Russia would continue to build up its fighting strength and technological capabilities in Ukraine. He said that Moscow’s mobilised troops had undergone ‘serious training’ and while many were now on the ground, the majority were not yet at the front.
Zelensky told parliament to remain united and praised Ukrainians for helping the West ‘find itself again’.
‘Our national colours are today an international symbol of courage and indomitability of the whole world,’ he said in an annual speech held behind closed doors.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Zelensky’s idea of driving Russia out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea with Western help and getting Moscow to pay damages to Kyiv is an ‘illusion’
Military unit fires a 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled howitzer, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the region of Donetsk, Ukraine, December 28, 2022
Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, but Ukraine says its daily bombardment is destroying cities, towns, and the country’s infrastructure from power to medical.
On Wednesday, Russian shelling hit the maternity wing of a hospital in the city of Kherson, though no-one was hurt, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, President Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff.
Staff and patients were moved to a shelter, Tymoshenko said in a post on Telegram.
‘It was frightening… the explosions began abruptly, the window handle started to tear off… my hands are still shaking,’ Olha Prysidko, a new mother, said.
‘When we came to the basement, the shelling wasn’t over. Not for a minute.’
Ukraine’s recently liberated southern city of Kherson has remained under constant bombardment from Russian forces which had retreated to the east bank of the river when the city was retaken in a major victory for Ukraine last month.
On the battlefront, Russia shelled more than 25 settlements around Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Wednesday.
Workers clean up debris after Russian shelling of the hospital maternity unit in Kherson, southern Ukraine, on December 28, 2022
Ukrainian army medics treat a wounded Ukrainian soldier in a hospital in Donbas, Ukraine on December 27, 2022
The Kherson region, at the mouth of the Dnipro, serves as a gateway to Russian-annexed Crimea.
Heavy fighting persisted around the Ukrainian-held city of Bakhmut, in the eastern province of Donetsk, and around the cities of Svatove and Kreminna in Luhansk, where Ukrainian forces are trying to break Russian defensive lines.
Britain’s defence ministry said Russia had likely reinforced the Kreminna section of the frontline as it is logistically important and relatively vulnerable following Ukrainian advances further west.
Kyiv-based military analyst Oleh Zhdanov noted that Kharkiv city and region had also come under heavy attacks which damaged a regional gas pipeline.
Kyiv and its Western allies have denounced Russia’s invasion of its neighbour as an imperialist-style land grab.
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls it a ‘special military operation’ to demilitarise its neighbour.
Sweeping sanctions have been imposed on Russia for the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people, driven millions from their homes, left cities in ruins and shaken the global economy, driving up energy and food prices.
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