The conflict in Ukraine has been characterized by the use of drones, with both Russia and Ukraine using new models and techniques to their advantage.
A senior Ukrainian Air Force official has said that Russia maintains an inventory of enough so-called “kamikaze” drones to launch daily attacks on Ukraine.
Moscow has destroyed civilian infrastructure during Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine by launching Shahed-131 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provided by Iran.
In an interview with Ukrainian television, Yuri Ignat said that Russia is stockpiling these “kamikaze” weapons alongside ballistic and cruise missiles in preparation for future assaults.
Ignat said last month that Moscow is using modified Shahed UAVs, painted black to blend in with the night sky and equipped with material that absorbs radar signals.
The most recent remarks made by Ignat occur amid stepped-up drone assaults on Ukrainian territory by Russian troops, as well as warnings from Kyiv that the Russian operations are anticipated to intensify this winter, targeting energy infrastructure and civilian areas.
Proclaiming agreements with partners on enhanced air defense help, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on December 16 that Ukrainian troops had shot down 104 of the 112 Shahed-type drones fired over the last week.
The Ukrainian Air Force said that on Monday night, two Russian Shahed-type drones were shot down over Khmelnytskyi Oblast by Ukrainian air defenses. The drones were launched from Primorsko-Akhtarsk in Russia’s Krasnodar area.
British military authorities said that Russia used a new facility in occupied Crimea to launch drones supplied by Iran. With the addition of Balaklava Crimea, Russia now has five verified launch sites: Cape Chauda, Yeysk, Primorsko, and Kursk.
The British Ministry of Defense has said that the Russian military is likely enhancing its drone launch capabilities to both protect its personnel and make Ukrainian air defense attempts more difficult.
A new Patriot defense system has been sent to Ukraine by Germany, joining the two that Washington and Berlin gave in the spring. Norwegian officials revealed this week that the country would be spending $30.5 million on air defense systems from NASAMS.