Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia is preparing a sustained drone campaign against his country in his address on Monday night. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces are preparing a sustained campaign using Iranian-made Shahed drones aiming to exhaust the Ukrainian people and its energy grid.
"We have information that Russia is planning a prolonged attack with 'Shaeds.' Its bet may be on exhaustion. On exhaustion of our people, our air defense, our energy sector," Zelensky said in his nightly address on Monday.
Multiple explosions rocked Kyiv Monday, damaging energy infrastructure and interrupting electrical service in the Ukrainian capital. Ukraine's state energy company, Ukrenergo, said unseasonably warm weather has taken pressure off the country's battered energy grid.
Russian forces also shelled the Kherson region 79 times on Monday, killing two civilians, according to the head of the regional military administration, Yaroslav Yanushevych.
Ukrainian authorities say they have charged two high-ranking Russian military officers in absentia for targeting Ukrainian civilians.
The commander in chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, Valery Zaluzhny said 40% of territory occupied by Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion has been liberated.
"The Armed Forces liberated 40% of the territories occupied during the full-scale invasion and 28% of all territories occupied by Russia since 2014," Zaluzhny said in a Telegram post.
Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ignat said nearly 500 Russian drones have been brought down by air defenses since September.
"We will prepare. We shoot down drones. As you can see, 64 drones were shot down in two days -- on New Year's Eve and the following day. 100% were shot down by air defense forces. Such results have never been achieved before. The number of drones is already approaching 500 since Sept. 11. That is 500 drones shot down," Ignat said on Ukrainian television Monday.
Russia acknowledged 63 soldiers died on New Year's Eve in a large strike against one of its military barracks in Makiivaka in eastern Ukraine. Russian military bloggers have expressed doubts about the figures and criticized military leadership for putting troops in an area the Ukrainians could easily hit with long-range artillery.
While the Ukrainian military rarely admits to strikes deep behind Russian lines, the general staff of the armed forces said as many as ten units of military equipment had been destroyed or damaged in Mariivaka. On Monday the Ukrainian military's Strategic Communications Department said 400 soldiers were killed, and 300 wounded in the strike.