Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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Air Defenses Repel 13 ‘Kamikaze’ Drones From Bombarding Kyiv: Ukraine

Air defenses blocked 13 Iranian-produced drones from bombarding Kyiv Sunday night as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, according to Ukrainian defense officials.

The attempted strikes against the Ukrainian capital come more than one year after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Ukraine “special military operation” on February 24, 2022. Kremlin military leaders initially aimed for a quick victory against Ukraine, perceived as having a smaller and weaker . However, Ukraine responded with a stronger-than-expected defense effort, bolstered by Western aid, preventing Russia from making substantial military gains.

After more than one year of fighting, Russia continues to struggle to make progress in the war. Following Ukraine’s counteroffensive last fall, which allowed them to retake thousands of square miles of formerly occupied territory, Russia began launching strikes against Kyiv in hopes of applying political pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer up concessions to end the war.

However, Russia’s latest attempted strikes against Kyiv appear to have largely failed, according to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Air Force wrote in a Telegram post Monday that Russian “invaders” attempted to strike Kyiv with Shahed-131/136 drones produced by Iran, one of the countries that have backed Russia amid the otherwise widely-condemned invasion.

In total, Russia allegedly sent 15 drones from the Bryansk region to strike Kyiv Sunday night. However, Ukraine wrote that a total of 13 of these drones were destroyed. Twelve were destroyed by anti-aircraft defenses, while one was destroyed by unspecified air defense units.

“A total of fifteen launches of attack UAVs were recorded,” the Telegram post reads. “A total of 13 ‘shaheeds’ were destroyed: 12 by the forces and means of anti-aircraft defense of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, one more by air defense units of other components of the defense forces of Ukraine.”

Russia has not confirmed these attempted strikes by Monday afternoon. As Ukraine claims that they have blocked progress, Russia has emphasized its own alleged gains, including optimism that they may make progress in the city of Bakhmut.

The Kyiv City Military Administration issued an air alert for the capital, writing in a statement that no damage was recorded from the drones that were not knocked out by air defenses.

“No hits to infrastructure objects were recorded. Previously, without victims and destruction of civil infrastructure. The enemy has not achieved its goals again! But this is no reason to relax! Help the Armed Forces, take care of yourself – together we will bring Peace to Ukraine after our Victory!” the administration wrote in their own Telegram post.

Shahed-136 drones are produced by Iran, which has provided them to Russia to assist in their invasion of Ukraine. It is believed that Russia has received hundreds of the unmanned aerial vehicles. Shahed-136 drones carry a warhead weighing between 66 and 110 pounds and have a maximum range of somewhere between 1,000 and 1,600.

Throughout the war, Ukraine touted its ability to destroy Shahed drones, which have expanded the war to Kyiv even as on-the-ground combat remains limited to only the easternmost regions of Ukraine, including the Donbas.

The think tank Institute for the Study of War said in January that Russia was quickly running out of the Shahed drones in a daily intelligence update, writing that they may have used up 88 percent of their arsenal.

Newsweek reached out to Ukraine and Russia’s defense ministries by email for further comment.

Air defenses blocked 13 Iranian-produced drones from bombarding Kyiv Sunday night as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, according to Ukrainian defense officials.

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