Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia, while the Kremlin has not commented.
By Athena Papakosta
Ukraine in recent weeks has been consistently complaining that the Russian armed forces strike with the Iranian Shahed-136 type drones. The British The Guardian comments that their use by Moscow reflects both its strength and its weakness, but no one – so far – has concluded that this is how Russia is changing the course of the war.
We first heard about the Iranian Shahed-136 drones a few weeks ago. It was September and the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the southeast was already in full swing by late August. A month or so later, Iranian Shahed-136 drones appear to be being used to sow terror and panic among Ukrainians by even striking the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
They are described as kamikaze drones. One can best think of them as “small cruise missiles”, the Guardian writes and explains that their destructive capacity is limited given their payload. Their speed is slower than that of cruise missiles and their use further highlights the fact that Moscow lacks guided missiles and is seeking to use the Shahed-136 in order to achieve more strikes against military – and non-military – targets.
Iran refuses that it provides the remotely piloted drones to Russia, while the Kremlin has not made any comments.
Moscow repeatedly attacks energy infrastructures, investing in this way in a war of attrition against Kiev but also in a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine, since by dismantling these facilities it aims to freeze the morale of Ukrainians by plunging them into darkness, without electricity and heating, fasting and helpless even to warm.
Yesterday we witnessed – from afar – a new barrage of attacks against Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, which had not been hit for months and which in just 7 days was targeted once again. And in fact, at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin himself had declared that there is no reason for further mass bombings in Ukraine.
The blood-stained success of the Russians drags civilians to their deaths and exposes the weaknesses of Ukrainian air defenses. The insistence on the use of drones, however, has not succeeded, for now, in any change in the course of the war in the country.
The Ukrainians continue their advance east and south at a steady pace, maintaining their lead on the ground. However, also to the northeast, Moscow is being pressed with Kyiv turning towards Kremina after the recapture of the city of Liman. Now, allied with Minsk, it is preparing joint military exercises with Belarus that will include live fire and anti-aircraft missile launches. The joint Moscow-Minsk military units are expected to be deployed at four firing ranges in the eastern and central part of Belarus.
“Terror must stop and it will stop. Ukraine will prevail,” said the Volodymyr Zelensky reminding that its citizens are not afraid but angry. Now eight months into the war, Kyiv is calling for new air defense systems and Moscow is making sure to keep up with long-range missiles by increasing the use of drones. A cheap solution to a new war of nerves that has just begun.
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