Zelensky pledges to increase Ukrainian-made weapons in 2024

In a speech to the Ukrainian people at the end of the year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised to increase domestically produced weapons next year for the country's war against Russia.

“Next year, the enemy will feel the wrath of local production.” Zelensky said in his speech on Sunday. “Our weapons, equipment, artillery, missiles, drones, our naval 'greetings' to the enemy and at least one million Ukrainian FPV drones.”

He continued: “We will use all of this generously.” “On land, in the sky, and of course at sea.”

Zelensky praised Ukrainian soldiers, medics and “everyone who works and fights every day” for helping to end the nearly two-year-long war with Russia. Ukrainian pilots are “already mastering” the F-16s, he said, and they will “certainly” be seen in the skies so that “our enemies can definitely see what our real anger is.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin also delivered a New Year's speech. He did not mention Ukraine by name in his speech, but the war was a major theme in his remarks, in which he pledged that Russia would “never back down.” A recent New York Times report found that Putin may be open to a ceasefire, as long as Russia is still able to declare victory.

Twenty-two months after its invasion of Ukraine, Russia continues its attack on the country. It recently carried out what a Ukrainian air force commander described as the “most massive air attack” of the war, with the air force saying it intercepted 114 of the 158 missiles and drones launched by Russia.

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The strike and end-of-year messages from each leader come as fighting has slowed to a near standstill before winter arrives, and both sides are suffering the effects of a long and costly conflict.

In his speech, Zelensky said that no matter how many missiles and attacks the “enemy” launches, Ukrainians “will continue to rise.”

Ukraine has continued to ask the United States for additional military aid that it says is necessary for its defense in the war. Zelensky failed to convince Congress to pass the aid bill before both chambers adjourned for holiday recess.

Congress is expected to resume negotiations on a package combining aid for the US southern border with aid to Ukraine after lawmakers return to Washington.

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