Moscow intends to continue is days-long, sustained civilian bombing campaign using Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his Jan. 2 evening address.
According to Zelenskyy, Ukrainian air defenses already shot down more than 80 enemy drones in the first two days of 2023.
“In the near future, this number may increase,” Zelenskyy stressed.
“We have information that Russia is planning a sustained attack with Shahed (drones). Their bet is on exhaustion. On the exhaustion of our people, of air defenses, of our energy (infrastructure). But we must – and we will – do everything we can to ensure the (Russian) terrorists fail in this goal, as they’ve failed before.”
The president thanked the country’s military for dealing with the drone threat. Zelenskyy explicitly thanked the servicemen of the 96th Kyiv, 208th Kherson, and 138th Dnipro Anti-Aircraft Missile brigades, the 301st Nikopol Anti-Aircraft Missile Air Force regiment, and soldiers of the 39th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment of Ukraine’s Ground forces.
“I thank, of course, our pilots, the pilots of our jets, and the fighters of mobile fireteams,” he added.
“Now is the time when everyone involved in the defense of our skies needs to be extra vigilant.”
On Jan. 2, Russia attacked Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Mykolaiv oblasts with Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones, with at least 39 of them getting shot down by Ukraine’s air defenses. This was the third day in a row such an attack took place.
According to the spokesman of Ukraine’s Air Force Command, Yuriy Ihnat, Kyiv remains the primary target for Russian drone strikes.