1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Ukraine updates: Russia launches 'massive missile attack'

Published December 29, 2023last updated December 30, 2023

Explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital and other cities early and air alerts were issued. The deadly wave of attacks has been one of the worst in recent months. DW has the latest.

A firefighter works at the site of a Russian missile strike, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on December 29, 2023
The Russian airstrikes targeted the capital Kyiv, the western city of Lviv and Kharkiv in the northeast, among othersImage: Yevhen Titov/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Explosions were heard across the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, and air alerts were issued as Russian missiles in several parts of the country early on Friday. 

Russia also struck several other Ukrainian cities, including the large population centers of Kharkiv and Lviv, on Friday morning.

The deadly wave of attacks killed at least 30 people and wounded almost 160 more, according to Ukrainian officials. 

Meanwhile, one of the Russian projectiles briefly strayed into Polish territory, albeit without hitting anything. 

This live blog is now closed. For the latest developments on the Russian war in Ukraine, please read more here

These were the updates on Russia's war in Ukraine on Friday, December 29.

Skip next section Death toll rises to 30
December 30, 2023

Death toll rises to 30

The death toll from Russia's latest aerial onslaught on Ukraine has risen to 30, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Interior Minister Igor Klymenko confirmed the figures in a Telegram post, stating that the attack had also left over 160 individuals injured.

The Russian envoy to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, attempted to deflect blame for the casualties, claiming that Ukraine's air defense systems were responsible for the deaths of civilians. 

However, this assertion stands in stark contrast to the overwhelming evidence of Russia's indiscriminate targeting of Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.

Russia launched 122 missiles and dozens of drones against Ukrainian targets, Ukrainian officials said Friday.

Russia launches large-scale aerial assault on Ukraine

Skip next section Poland summons Russian diplomat over airspace breach
December 29, 2023

Poland summons Russian diplomat over airspace breach

Poland summoned the Russian charge d'affaires and demanded an explanation after a Russian cruise missile violated Polish airspace.

The Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it also called for an immediate halt to such activities.

The Polish military said earlier Friday the missile traveled about 40 kilometers (25 miles) over 3 minutes before crossing back in into Ukrainian territory.

Russia's charge d'affaires in Warsaw was later cited as saying that Poland had provided no proof of a border violation by a Russian missile.

"I was handed a note which contained an unsubstantiated claim that allegedly on the morning of 29th December, an airborne object violated Polish airspace, which Polish specialists identified as a Russian guided missile," RIA Novosti news agency quoted diplomat Andrei Ordash as saying.

"No proof was presented. My request for documented proof of what was in the note was refused."

Skip next section US 'must step up' to help Ukraine after Russian strikes, Biden says
December 29, 2023

US 'must step up' to help Ukraine after Russian strikes, Biden says

US President Joe Biden has urged Congress to unite on sending aid to Ukraine, hours after the latest Russian ariel bombardment on Ukrainian cities.

"Unless Congress takes urgent action in the new year, we will not be able to continue sending the weapons and vital air defense systems Ukraine needs to protect its people. Congress must step up and act without any further delay," he said in a statement.

Republicans, who hold a majority of seats in the lower house of Congress, are blocking a renewal of US military assistance for Ukraine.

The last tranche of aid from previously approved funds, amounting to $250 million (€226 million), was announced on Thursday.

Biden said that the latest round of Russian missile attacks was the "largest aerial assault on Ukraine since this war began."

"It is a stark reminder to the world that, after nearly two years of this devastating war, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's objective remains unchanged. He seeks to obliterate Ukraine and subjugate its people," he said.

"[Putin] must be stopped," Biden declared.

Skip next section Zelenskyy visits Avdiivka on eastern frontline amid fierce fighting
December 29, 2023

Zelenskyy visits Avdiivka on eastern frontline amid fierce fighting

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he visited the embattled town of Avdiivka in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region.

Russian forces have been trying for months to encircle the town with attacks intensifying in mid-October after a Ukrainian counter-offensive failed to achieve significant gains.

"We discussed the defense situation and basic needs with the commander," Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging service.

"This is one of the most difficult areas of the front line," he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 2nd left, looks at a map during his visit to Avdiivka, the site of fierce battles with the Russian troops in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on December 29, 2023
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met military officials in the eastern town of AvdiivkaImage: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP/picture alliance

Avdiivka had a pre-war population of around 32,000 but much of the town is now severely damaged.

Last week, Russia said it captured the Donetsk town of Maryinka. Ukraine's forces said they had withdrawn to the outskirts of the settlement.

Skip next section OSCE laments 'senseless violence' of Russia's latest airstrikes
December 29, 2023

OSCE laments 'senseless violence' of Russia's latest airstrikes

The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has called on Russia to end the "tragic suffering" of the Ukrainian people.

The demand by Bujar Osmani, who is also North Macedonia's Foreign Minister, comes after the most intense Russian airstrikes in months hit several Ukrainian cities on Friday.

"Once again, people are bearing the brunt in the war against Ukraine. In the middle of the holiday period, civilians across the country had to shelter while their cities came under attack. Dozens of families are left mourning in the rubble," Osmani said in a statement.

"We renew our urgent call to stop this senseless violence and the tragic suffering it continues to inflict on the Ukrainian people."

Skip next section Germany condemns airstrikes and pledges continued support
December 29, 2023

Germany condemns airstrikes and pledges continued support

Germany's Foreign Ministry has joined a chorus of criticism following the large-scale attacks on Ukraine. 

"Shortly before the new year Russia again brings terror across all of Ukraine," the Foreign Ministry wrote on social media. 

"More than 100 missiles and drones have destroyed a maternity clinic, among other things, snatching people from everyday life into death. Also in 2024, we will not move one centimeter from Ukraine's side," it said.

Skip next section Warsaw: Object in Polish airspace likely a Russian rocket
December 29, 2023

Warsaw: Object in Polish airspace likely a Russian rocket

A senior Polish general said on Friday that the unidentified object that entered Polish airspace from Ukraine earlier in the day was most likely a Russian rocket. 

He told reporters that it spent less than 3 minutes over Polish territory and that it most likely returned across the border into Ukrainian territory after dropping off Polish radars. 

Poland's military had earlier said an unidentified flying object had crossed the border and disappeared from the radar, but said nothing initially about whether it had hit anything or what it was. 

You can read the story in full here. 

Skip next section European powers urge Ukraine support for 'as long as it takes'
December 29, 2023

European powers urge Ukraine support for 'as long as it takes'

European powers on Friday condemned the widespread overnight and dawn Russian airstrikes that killed at least 16 across Ukraine. 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the attacks showed that Russian President Vladimir Putin "will stop at nothing to achieve his aim of eradicating freedom and democracy." 

"We will not let him win. We must continue to stand with Ukraine — for as long as it takes," he said on social media. 

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell also used the "as long as it takes" phrase in his response saying that Brussels stood with Ukraine. 

Borrell said the airstrikes were "yet another cowardly and indiscriminate targeting of schools, a metro station and a hospital." 

France's Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, described the attacks on civilians as part of Russia's "strategy of terror" in Ukraine, promising Paris' continued support "in close coordination with its partners."

Skip next section Foreign Ministry says attacks show truce talks a non-starter
December 29, 2023

Foreign Ministry says attacks show truce talks a non-starter

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry alluded to recent reports and rumors, both from the Russian side and in Western media, of possible negotiations about trying to halt the conflict with Russia when condemning the large airstrikes overnight. 

It said in an English-language post that the strikes demonstrated that such negotiations were not a realistic option. 

"No talks about 'cease-fires,' 'temporary territorial concessions,' 'fatigue,' 'negotiations' or other 'gestures' will halt Russian aggression," the ministry wrote. 

"Arm Ukraine now. It is the only way to defend people," it said.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also referred to the recent media reports, and seemingly to US difficulties approving more military assistance for Ukraine in Congress, when referring to the attacks.

He said "millions of Ukrainians" had awoken on Friday to the loud sound of explosions. 

"I wish those sounds of explosions in Ukraine could be heard all around the world," Kuleba said. "In all major capitals, headquarters, and parliaments, which are currently debating further support for Ukraine. In all newsrooms, which are writing about 'fatigue' or Russia purportedly being ready for 'negotiations.'" 

Skip next section Ukrainian prosecutor says 16 dead, 97 wounded
December 29, 2023

Ukrainian prosecutor says 16 dead, 97 wounded

Ukrainian officials reported 16 dead and almost 100 wounded from Russia's overnight missile and drone attack. 

"As of now, reports confirm 16 people killed and 97 wounded, including at least two children aged 6 and 8," Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin wrote on social media. 

He said that rescue operations were ongoing in a series of cities and reported "extensive damage" to residential buildings, educational institutions, and hospitals.

"Criminal proceedings into these war crimes have been initiated," Kostin said. "Once again, the Russian regime has demonstrated its violent and criminal nature."

Skip next section Ukraine says overnight strikes largest since battle for Kyiv
December 29, 2023

Ukraine says overnight strikes largest since battle for Kyiv

Ukrainian officials said the overnight missile and drone barrage was the largest the country had faced since the opening days and weeks of Russia's invasion, as the Kremlin's forces tried to take the capital, Kyiv. 

"This is the most massive missile attack in general," Yuriy Ignat, spokesman for Ukraine's air force command, told the AFP news agency, adding that this tally excluded the first days of the war launched in February 2022 that saw "constant and uninterrupted" strikes.

Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi said on Telegram that air defenses had shot down 87 missiles of various types and 27 drones.

He said preliminary data suggested Russia employed "158 means of attack" in the strikes.  

Skip next section Poland's military: Unidentified aerial object entered Polish territory
December 29, 2023

Poland's military: Unidentified aerial object entered Polish territory

The Polish army's operational command said early on Friday that an unidentified aerial object had entered the country's airspace. 

"In the morning, an unidentified aerial object entered the airspace of the Republic of Poland from the side of the border with Ukraine, and from the moment it crossed the border until the signal disappeared, it was observed by the radars of the country's air defense system," the operational command said social media. 

"In accordance with applicable procedures, the operational commander of the armed forces mobilized the available forces and resources at his disposal," it said. 

Poland did not immediately report any damage or casualties.

Ukraine faced Russian airstrikes across much of the country on Friday morning, including in the far west in cities like Lviv, near the Polish border.

Poland did not comment immediately on what the aerial object was or who might have fired it. In November of 2022, a projectile landed on a border village, killing two people, and it eventually transpired it was a Ukrainian air defense missile that had been fired at a Russian incoming missile during a barrage.

Skip next section Zelenskyy: Russia employed 'nearly every type of weapon in its arsenal' overnight
December 29, 2023

Zelenskyy: Russia employed 'nearly every type of weapon in its arsenal' overnight

A firefighter works at a site of a warehouse heavily damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine December 29, 2023.
Firefighters were out in force in Kyiv on Friday morningImage: VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia had fired around 110 missiles at Ukraine overnight, in what Kyiv is describing as one of the heaviest barrages in a long time. 

"Today, Russia used nearly every type of weapon in its arsenal," Zelenskyy said, including cruise missiles, drones, and air-to-surface missiles launched by strategic bombers.

"A total of around 110 missiles were fired against Ukraine, with the majority of them being shot down. Unfortunately, there have been fatalities and injuries as a result of the strikes. All services are working around the clock and providing the necessary aid," Zelenskyy wrote on social media. 

Smoke rises in the sky over the city after a Russian missile and drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine December 29, 2023.
Smoke could be seen above the capital's skyline after the attacksImage: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS

Ukraine's president said buildings hit included a "maternity ward, educational facilities, a shopping mall, multi-story residential buildings" and others. 

He reported strikes on Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, "and other cities." 

Firefighters stand at the site of a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine December 29, 2023.
Zelenskyy said first responders were working 'round the clock' to provide the necessary assistanceImage: VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS
Skip next section At least 12 dead in massive Russian air attack
December 29, 2023

At least 12 dead in massive Russian air attack

At least 12 people were killed and more than 60 injured in Russia's largest drone attack on Ukraine in months on Friday, said officials.

"We can say that this was a massive attack," Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said.

The attacks were launched on the capital city, Kyiv, Lviv in the west, Kharkiv in the east and the southeastern port city of Odesa. Buildings were damaged in these places, and damages were reported at a maternity hospital in the central city of Dnipro.  

Two people were killed in Kyiv, and several others are believed to be stuck under rubble at a warehouse that was damaged by debris, said Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

In Odesa, missiles hit a residential building, killing two and injuring 15, including children, the regional governor said.

Skip next section Russian poet sentenced to 7 years for verses against Ukraine war
December 29, 2023

Russian poet sentenced to 7 years for verses against Ukraine war

Russian poet Artyom Kamardin was given a 7-year prison sentence Thursday by Moscow's Tverskoi District Court for reciting verses against Russia's war in Ukraine. 

He was charged with making calls undermining national security and inciting hatred during an incident where he read his anti-war poems at a street performance in Moscow in September 2022. The gathering was held next to a monument of poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.

The court also sentenced Yegor Shtovba, who participated in the event and recited Kamardin's verses, to five and a half years on the same charges.

Kamardin's friends and lawyer said he was beaten up and sexually assaulted by the police, reported Russian media. Later, pro-government media released a video of him apologizing for his actions, where his face was bruised.

During the hearing, Kamardin's wife, Alexandra Popova, was escorted out of the courtroom after she shouted "shame!" following the verdict. She and some others were detained later on charges of holding an unsanctioned rally outside the court.

Show more posts