Ukrainian Military Claims Shoot Down 16 Iranian Kamikaze Shahed-136 Drones

Ukrainian Military Claims Shoot Down 16 Iranian Kamikaze Shahed-136 Drones
Ukrainian Military Claims Shoot Down 16 Iranian Kamikaze Shahed-136 Drones

Kiev - The Ukrainian military claims to have shot down 16 Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drones that Russia used in its invasion on Saturday night. "Sixteen [kamikaze] Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote in a Facebook post, quoted by Newsweek, Monday (24/10/2022).

"On the night of October 23, the Russian occupiers have traditionally attacked the southern part of the country with kamikaze drones," the General Staff continued. According to the statement, 11 of these drones were shot down in the Mykolaiv region. The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces did not specify the targets of the dozens of kamikaze drones.

According to them, two of the drones managed to break through from the south and were destroyed by the Eastern and Central Air Command. Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24, aiming for a quick victory against Kiev. However, the invasion revealed weaknesses in Moscow's military, allowing Ukraine to block Russia from achieving a substantial victory after nearly eight months of fighting.

The conflict has divided the world, with Western countries including the United States backing Ukraine, providing humanitarian and military aid that has been credited with boosting Kiev's defense efforts. Western aid has also allowed the Eastern European country to reclaim thousands of square miles of territory previously occupied by Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia has found itself as a "pariah" among European countries in the midst of the conflict. When Ukraine's military received equipment and weapons from its Western allies, Russia turned to Iran for support amid allegations of mounting losses. Russia is alleged to have locked up a deal with Iran to receive new drones and missiles aimed at blunting Ukraine's military might.

Ukraine claims to have destroyed a large number of Russian weapons including 2,584 tanks, 270 aircraft and 1,667 artillery systems. The claim was made by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, but could not be independently verified. Iran's Shahed-136 drone is meant to offset the alleged damage suffered by Russia.

However, this drone only has a small explosive charge and flies at low altitude, making it an easier target than other drones. However, Russia's drone strikes have destroyed some of Ukraine's energy infrastructure, which experts say could boost Russia's military operations.

On Wednesday last week, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed to have destroyed more than 200 drones from September 13 to October 19. In addition to the Shahed-136 drone, Russia will reportedly also receive the missiles as part of the weapons package from Iran. Iran is alleged to have agreed to send the powerful Zolfaghar and Fateh-110 missiles to Russia, which could compete with the US-delivered M142 or HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System to Ukraine.

Both Russia and Iran deny reports of Tehran's arms shipments to Moscow to aid its invasion of Ukraine. Iranian missiles have several advantages over HIMARS such as having a longer range. HIMARS, however, has better precision.

Ukraine has been pushing the US to provide more powerful weapons, but Russia says doing so will cross the line. The Joe Biden administration is reluctant to provide long-range missiles such as the Army's Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which is capable of striking targets more than 280 miles away, to Ukraine.

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