Putin Vows to Ramp Up Strikes on Ukraine After Belgorod Attack

A major Russian drone barrage targeted Ukraine on Monday

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed on Monday to ramp up attacks on Ukraine in response to the Ukrainian strike on Russia’s Belgorod Oblast.

“They want to intimidate us and create uncertainty within our country. We will intensify strikes. Not a single crime against our civilian population will go unpunished,” Putin said during a New Year’s Day visit to a military hospital, according to AP.

Ukraine targeted Belgorod in a missile attack on Saturday, the most significant Ukrainian strike on Russian territory of the war. It came a day after Russia launched what was said to be its largest missile and drone attack across Ukraine, killing 31, according to Ukrainian authorities.

The governor of Russia’s Belgorod Oblast said Monday that the death toll in the Ukrainian attack had risen to 25 civilians. Putin insisted Russia’s strikes in retaliation would only be aimed at military facilities, although Ukrainian officials said the 31 killed on Friday were civilians.

“Of course, we can hit public squares in Kyiv and in any other Ukrainian city,” Putin said. “I understand — I’m boiling with rage — but do we need to hit civilians? No. We are hitting military targets, and that’s what we will keep doing.”

Earlier on Monday, Ukrainian officials said Russia launched a major drone barrage across Ukraine that was described as the biggest Russian drone attack of the war.

Military situation in Ukraine on January 1, 2024 (SouthFront.press)

As it’s become clear that Ukrainian forces can’t beat Russian forces on the battlefield and war fatigue is growing in the West, Ukraine has been stepping up sabotage and other types of attacks inside Russian territory. The Ukrainian operations risk provoking a clash between Russia and NATO as Moscow believes Kyiv would not be able to strike inside Russian territory without Western support.

Russian officials said that Ukraine used a Czech-made multiple-launch rocket system armed with cluster bombs to carry out its strike on Belgorod on Saturday. Ukraine’s Western backers are also implicated in sabotage attacks and assassinations that have happened inside Russia, as a recent report from The Washington Post revealed how the CIA helped build up Ukrainian intelligence agencies since 2014.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.