Russia launches Shahed UAVs from new site to further threaten Kyiv, says UK intelligence

1 March, 12:39 PM
Russia has started launching Iranian Shahed drones from the Bryansk region (Photo:REUTERS/Serhii Smolientsev)

Russia has started launching Iranian Shahed drones from the Bryansk region (Photo:REUTERS/Serhii Smolientsev)

The Russian military has started launching Iranian-made Shahed drones from Bryansk Oblast, Russia, to further threaten the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, the UK’s Ministry of Defense wrote on Twitter on March 1.

UK intelligence said that on Feb. 27, 2023, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence confirmed it had shot down 11 Shahed one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicles (OWA UAVs) out of 14 launched overnight.

Serhii Popko, head of Kyiv City Military Administration, reported nine of these were shot down in the vicinity of Kyiv airspace. Three additional Shahed UAVs were reportedly shot down in Chernihiv Oblast, northern Ukraine.

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The agency notes that due to the vector of the attack, these Shahed-UAVs were highly likely launched from the Bryansk Oblast, Russia. Previously, the only observed launch site since mid-December 2022 was from Krasnodar Krai, across the Sea of Azov.

“A second launch site would give the Russians a different axis of attack, closer to Kyiv,” the ministry said in its daily summary.

“This is likely to decrease time in the air over Ukraine and an attempt to further stretch Ukrainian air defences.”

The UK intelligence added that prior to this Feb. 26 attack, there had not been any reports of OWA UAVs being used in Ukraine since around Feb. 15, 2023. This decrease in OWA UAV attack tempo likely indicates that Russia has run down its current stock: it will likely seek a resupply, it said.

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