Russia launces 16 suicide drones on Ukraine overnight, most of them intercepted – Air Force

18 March, 10:32 AM
Searchlights search for drones in the sky of Kyiv, the night of January 2, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Searchlights search for drones in the sky of Kyiv, the night of January 2, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

The Russian military launched 16 Iranian-made suicide drones at targets across Ukraine on March 17 overnight, with Ukrainian air defenses managing to shot down 11 of them.

"At about 9.00 p.m. on March 17, the Russian occupiers attacked Ukraine with Iranian-made Shahed-136/131 kamikaze drones,” the Ukrainian Air Force wrote on its Telegram channel.

“The attack was carried out in two directions – from the eastern Azov Sea coast and from Russia’s Bryansk Oblast," the air force said.

Video of day

Ukrainian air defense managed to shoot down 11 attack drones in central, western and eastern regions, including all of the drones launched at Kyiv.

The air force did not say what happened to the other five drones.

Later, Maksym Kozytskyy, the head of Lviv Oblast Military Administration, said six Shahed drones had made it two Lviv Oblast, news outlet reported.

Kozytskyy said three of the drones were shot down by air defenses, while others hit non-residential premises in Yavorivskiyi District in the west of the oblast, next to Ukraine’s border with Poland.

The governor said there were no casualties as a result of the attack.

Russia regularly launches Iranian-made suicide drones at Ukraine at night – the slow moving drones have a distinctive motor sound and can even be brought down with machine guns in daytime, but are more difficult to spot at night.

Russia recently started launching the drones from a site in Bryansk region, only about 200 kilometers from Kyiv. The Ukrainian military says Russia did this to shorten the reaction time of Ukrainian air defenses.

Nevertheless, none of the drones have managed to evade the Ukrainian capital’s air defenses since last October, at the beginning of Russia’s campaign to try to destroy civilian infrastructure.

Kyiv’s air defenses have also been able to shoot down almost all incoming cruise missiles for several months, since Ukraine received modern air defense systems from its military allies. However, parts of shot down missiles have caused deaths and injuries in the city on several occasions.

Moreover, Ukraine will not have air defense systems capable of intercepting ballistic missiles, supersonic and hypersonic missiles until the arrival of a promised U.S. Patriot missile defense battery.

In the last mass missile attack by Russia on Ukraine, six Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missiles hit a heat and power plant in the city’s Holosiyivskiy District, temporarily knowing out power to 15 percent of the capital and heating to 40%

The outages were eliminated within a few days.

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