Ukraine shoots down nearly 90 Iranian-made drones in two days: Zelensky

Ukraine shot down 89 Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones, also known as Shahed-136, in two days, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Only two days have passed since the beginning of the year, and the number of Iranian drones shot down over Ukraine is already over 80,” Zelensky said in a presidential address on Monday. “This number could increase in the near future. Because these weeks the nights can be quite rough.”

Russia’s use of Iranian-made drones, numbering in the hundreds, indicates that the country has resorted to outside help as it struggles to advance the war in Ukraine. Russia plans to set up a new drone factory within its borders to manufacture the weapons using Iranian designs.

On Saturday, Ukrainian forces shot down 45 Russian-fired drones, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said.

“Instead of New Year’s Eve fireworks. Russia launched 45 Iranian-made suicide bomber drones at Ukraine throughout New Year’s Eve. All 45 of them were shot down. The Kremlin terrorist cannot shake the resolve of Ukrainians. 2023 is the year of new victories”, ministry tweeted sunday.

A Ukrainian serviceman fires at a military drone during a night fight against Russian-backed separatists on the front line near Novolugansk on November 14, 2019. Ukraine shot down 89 Iranian-made suicide bomber drones, also known as the name Shahed-136, in two days, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images

Monday, the ministry posted an update saying another 44 drones were shot down by Ukrainian forces. In the update, the ministry also summarized Russia’s losses since the war began on Feb. 24. These Russian losses include approximately 108,000 dead soldiers, more than 2,000 artillery pieces and 1,880 drones shot down by Ukraine.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Monday that “up to 10 units of enemy military equipment of various types” were destroyed in the town of Makiivka in the eastern Donetsk region.

Ukraine deflected 27 airstrikes Russia launched on Monday, downing Shahed-136 drones that targeted civilian infrastructure, according to the Ukrainian military. “The threat of further air and missile strikes remains throughout Ukraine,” the military added.

The Ukrainian army also said earlier that around 400 Russian soldiers were killed and 300 others injured in an attack launched at midnight on Sunday against a vocational school in Makiivka which had Russian conscripts.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday that 63 Russian servicemen died in the attack. Newsweek was unable to independently verify the number of Russian servicemen killed who were released by Ukraine and Russia.

Zelensky warned on Monday that Russia was planning a “prolonged attack with Shaheds [drones].”

“His bet may be on exhaustion. On exhaustion of our people, our air defense, our energy sector,” he said. “But we have to make sure – and we will do everything we can – that this terrorist objective fails like all the others.”

He also urged Ukrainian forces to remain vigilant against air offensives launched by Russia.

“This is the time when everyone involved in protecting the skies should be especially mindful,” the Ukrainian president said. “The Russian regime needs mobilizing emotions. Something it wants to demonstrate to its country in order to keep lying that everything is going ‘according to plan’.”

He continued: “And our task is to give Ukraine daily successes, achievements, even small ones, but victories over terrorists and terror. Every drone shot down, every missile shot down, every day with electricity for our people and minimal blackout schedules are exactly such victories.”

In his speech, Zelensky also called for raising “the price of new mobilization and of war in general”.

Newsweek contacted the Russian Ministry of Defense for comments.


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