Russia hit Ukraine with missiles and drones hours before the leaders of the two countries used New Year’s Eve speeches to their people on Sunday to offer starkly different messages at the end of another year of brutal war.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said the Russian invasion had already demonstrated his country’s strength and resilience — and he called on Ukrainians to “make an extraordinary effort and to do more.”
“Each of us fought, worked, waited, helped, lived and hoped this year,” Mr. Zelensky said in a 20-minute video address delivered from his presidential office. “No matter how many missiles the enemy fires, no matter how many shellings and attacks,” he vowed, “we will still rise.”
A listener to the New Year’s address given by his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, might be forgiven for thinking that the biggest land war in Europe since World War II was not taking place just across the border.
“I want to wish every Russian family all the best,” Mr. Putin said in a message that was just four minutes long, and delivered in a familiar setting for the Russian leader’s end-of-year address, with the nighttime Kremlin illuminated in the background. “We are one country, one big family.”
In a speech that appeared intended to send a reassuring signal of normality to the Russian people, Mr. Putin only fleetingly spoke of the Russian soldiers waging war on his behalf, calling them “our heroes” who are “on the front line of the battle for truth and justice.” And he did not mention Ukraine or the West.