Ukraine endured a new round of shelling Saturday while Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered the longest, most strident New Year's address of his reign. Putin began the nine-minute speech by lauding the Russian army's "strength of spirit and courage," the Washington Post reports. He then blamed Western allies for the fighting in Ukraine. "The West lied about peace but was preparing for aggression," he said, and now is "cynically using Ukraine and its people to weaken and divide Russia." Putin added, "We have never and will never allow anyone to do this to us."
Even as his prerecorded speech was broadcast, missiles and exploding drones showered Kyiv and other cities, per the New York Times. At least one person in the capital was killed. In his nightly video speech to Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyn called the New Year’s Eve attacks "inhuman." Ukrainian defense officials were concerned at the quickened pace of the shelling, per the AP. Defying the danger, some Ukrainians traveled to spend the holiday with family members, even from other countries. A 23-year-old who's been living in Italy said her boyfriend had pleaded with her to return for New Year's. "I decided that (being) scared is one part, but being with beloved ones on the holidays is the most important part," she said. "So, I overcome my fear and here I am now." (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)