War in Ukraine, day 687 | Zelensky in Estonia, 13 injured in Kharkiv, difficult times in Belgorod

(Tallinn) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Tallinn overnight from Wednesday to Thursday for the second stage of his tour of the Baltic countries, Kyiv’s loyal allies against Russia.

“It is a great honor to welcome good friends and allies,” President Zelensky and his head of diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba, Margus Tsahkna, Estonian Foreign Minister, wrote on X on Thursday morning.

“We are sending a strong message and confirming to Ukraine that Estonia is firmly on its side and together we will win this war!” “, he added.

During the first stage of his tour, Wednesday in Lithuania, the Ukrainian head of state castigated the Western hesitations regarding financial and military aid to Ukraine, which “only increase the courage and strength of Russia “.

“We need to pay attention to Putin’s rhetoric. He’s not going to stop. He wants to occupy us completely,” he added, estimating that in the event of a Ukrainian defeat, other neighbors of Russia, including the Baltic countries, risked being attacked.

These three former Soviet republics are today members of NATO and the EU and firm supporters of Kyiv in the face of the Russian invasion.

The visit comes after several waves of intense Russian bombings suffered by Ukraine since the end of December.

During his visit to Tallinn, the Ukrainian president must meet his Estonian counterpart Alar Karis, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and must deliver a speech to Parliament.


Kharkiv, January 11, 2024

At least 13 injured in Russian strike on Kharkiv hotel

Two Russian missiles struck a hotel in Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, on Wednesday evening, injuring 13 people, including two foreign journalists, Ukrainian authorities announced Thursday.

“Thirteen people were injured. Among them, two journalists from Turkish media: a Turkish citizen and a Georgian citizen,” the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office said on Telegram.

Emergency services also confirmed the figure of 13 injured at this stage.

Ten people are “hospitalized”, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office said in its press release.

Earlier in the night, the mayor of Kharkiv, Igor Terekhov, assured on Telegram that one of the injured was “in very serious condition”.

Several other buildings, including two residential buildings, as well as cars were also damaged by the Russian strike, the mayor said.

According to Oleg Synegoubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, at around 10:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Eastern time) the two Russian S-300 missiles hit the hotel, located in the Kyivskyi district and inside which there were 30 civilians.

He said the most seriously injured person was a 35-year-old man. The other injured are three men aged 31 to 38 and seven women aged 23 to 71, he continued.

In total, 19 people were evacuated by Ukrainian emergency services, they said on Telegram, also publishing a video of the rescue operations, showing a small building with blown out windows.

Located around thirty kilometers from the Russian border, Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, is regularly the target of bombings.

For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed overnight to have “destroyed” four Ukrainian drones over the regions of Tula, Kaluga and Rostov.

The regional authorities of Voronezh, in western Russia, also indicated that a Ukrainian drone had hit “the roof of a non-residential building”, without causing any injuries.


Vyacheslav Gladkov

“Difficult times” in Belgorod attacked by Kyiv

The large Russian city of Belgorod, the target of several large-scale Ukrainian attacks in recent days, is experiencing “difficult times”, the region’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, admitted on Thursday.

“The Belgorod region is going through difficult times,” lamented the official during a visit to an exhibition in Moscow intended to promote the richness of Russian heritage, including in the occupied Ukrainian regions.

“Everyone is afraid,” Mr. Gladkov admitted to the press. “When missiles explode (…) you don’t worry about yourself, but about your children.”

These comments contrast with the declarations of the Kremlin which, two months before the presidential election, is trying to demonstrate that the conflict with Ukraine does not directly affect the daily lives and security of Russians.

On Tuesday, its spokesperson Dmitri Peskov swore that the authorities would do “everything” to stop the Ukrainian bombings on Belgorod.

And this while missile and drone attacks from Kyiv continue after the strike, at the end of December, the deadliest on Russian soil since February 24, 2022 (25 dead).

However, a sign of growing concern, Vyacheslav Gladkov announced on Wednesday the evacuation of nearly 400 children from Belgorod, a town of 335,000 inhabitants that is a regular target of Ukrainian attacks in response to the large-scale bombings by the Russian army on the Ukraine.

The authorities have also already postponed the start of the school year until January 19 and called on residents, for the first time in nearly two years of conflict, to secure their windows to protect themselves from possible shards of glass in the event of Ukrainian strikes.

Despite everything, Mr. Gladkov also tried to make reassuring remarks on Thursday.

“Our mission is to help people,” he insisted. “We are rebuilding destroyed houses, we are moving teaching to distance learning, but we are continuing to build new schools,” he assured.

The official was speaking from VDNKh Park, built in northeastern Moscow in the late 1930s to highlight the greatness of the USSR.

Until mid-April, this park hosts the “Russia” exhibition, wanted by the authorities to praise a country “with a rich history and immense prospects”, according to its website.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his first campaign speech there in December ahead of the presidential election scheduled for March 15-17.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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