Putin calls Ukrainian attack on Belgorod terrorism, promises more strikes

(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that a series of Ukrainian missile strikes on the Russian border city of Belgorod that killed 20 people and wounded 111 was “a terrorist act” that would not go unpunished and promised more strikes on Ukrainian targets.

Speaking at a meeting with servicemen at a military hospital in Moscow, Putin said that the strikes, which came amid intensified Russian air assaults against Ukrainian cities Kyiv and Kharkiv, “will not go unpunished”.

Putin said that Russia would continue to strike “sensitive” military targets in Ukraine. Russia denies Western and Ukrainian accusations that it targets civilian infrastructure.

In a wide-ranging conversation with the servicemen, Putin said that the course of the war in Ukraine was changing in Russia’s favour, and that Moscow hoped to end the war, but only on its own terms.

Putin’s traditional new year address delivered on Sunday made only a passing reference to the war in Ukraine, a sharp contrast to last year’s speech.

(Reporting by Felix Light; Editing by Alison Williams)