With their troops locked in a bloody stalemate on much of the front line, the leaders of Russia and Ukraine are expected to share their messages for 2023 on Saturday amid strong signs that the war will stretch through the coming year.
An impassioned and effective orator, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has given hundreds of speeches since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of his country in late February. His messaging has been at times defiant in the face of Russian aggression, motivating and mobilizing for the Ukrainian people and imploring of support from Ukraine’s allies.
Mr. Zelensky will deliver his New Year’s address as Ukraine’s military continues to prove itself as a formidable foe against Russian forces, having reclaimed half of the territory seized by Moscow’s troops since the February invasion. But Russian attacks continue to kill and maim Ukrainians while decimating the country’s infrastructure, leaving millions in the dark and the cold. On Friday, Ukraine’s military said it had thwarted another drone swarm targeting Kyiv, the capital.
“The enemy continues to launch massive air attacks on Ukraine’s capital city,” the Kyiv military administration said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.
The war has now passed its 300th day. There have been no peace talks between Ukraine and Russia since the early weeks of the conflict, which began when Russia launched a full-scale invasion on Feb. 24.
The United States and other allies of Ukraine have vowed to maintain their support for Kyiv’s government for “as long as it takes,” pledging a steady stream of weapons. That includes new American aid that was part of the $1.7 trillion government spending package signed into law by President Biden on Thursday.
The Kremlin has recently indicated that it, too, sees a long battle ahead. President Vladimir V. Putin said last week that his goal was “to end this war” — while emphasizing almost in the same breath a determination to keep fighting.
With his New Year’s speech, Mr. Putin will address the Russian people as the Kremlin has suffered a series of setbacks on the battlefield in a grinding war that has killed thousands of civilians and left Russia’s economy vulnerable.
The invasion that Mr. Putin ordered in February has left Russia increasingly isolated, economically and politically, as the United States, Europe and others have rallied around Ukraine, showing a rare unity of purpose.
Mr. Putin decided to skip his annual marathon December news conference this year. The typically wide-ranging event has served as a rare — albeit slightly choreographed — opportunity for reporters outside the Kremlin pool to directly question the Russian leader.
Anushka Patil contributed reporting.