Russia switching to suicide drones due to lack of missiles, says Ukraine’s intel chief

24 October 2022, 07:50 PM
Russia began using kamikaze drones to strike critical infrastructure in Ukraine in early October (Photo:Roman Petushkov/Reuters)

Russia began using kamikaze drones to strike critical infrastructure in Ukraine in early October (Photo:Roman Petushkov/Reuters)

Russia has enough stocks of Iranian kamikaze drones to last them a long while, even if only a third are reaching their targets, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said in an interview with NV’s sister publication Ukrayinska Pravda, published on Oct. 24.

"As of Oct. 22, they have used about 330 Shaheds,” the intelligence chief stated.

“As far as I remember, 222 of them were shot down. Others, to one degree or another, reached their targets – not always their targets, sometimes somewhere nearby, but 30% of drones reach their targets.”

Budanov added that a one-time delivery of the batch constitutes about 300 units. At the moment, the enemy is using a second batch.

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Meanwhile, their stocks of missiles are almost exhausted, according to him.

Budanov speculates that Russia has been forced to use suicide drones due to the missile shortage, and their low efficiency. He noted that the Mohajer-6 has not really proven effective, but the Shahed-136 ‘suicide drone’ is used to strike at Ukraine’s critical infrastructure en masse.

"As for Iskanders – they have about 13% left, missiles such as Kalibr-PL, Kalibr-NK – about 43%, missiles Kh-101 and Kh-555 – about 45%,” Budanov said.

“It is very dangerous to fall below 30% because this is already the unexpendable stock. Russia has long passed the unexpendable stock on Iskanders, but on Kalibrs and Kh-101, Kh-555, they are still trying to somehow stay within their norms.”

Air Force Command spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said on Oct. 2  that over the past fortnight, the Ukrainian military destroyed up to 85% of Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drones.

On Oct. 11, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia had ordered 2,400 more Shahed-136 attack drones from Iran, referring to intelligence data. After the first downing of Iranian drones, Ukraine refused to extend the accreditation of the Iranian ambassador, and reduced the number of personnel in the Iranian embassy to only a few employees.

On Oct. 17, Kyiv suffered from a mass attack of Iranian-made suicide drones, which resulted in the death of five people and multiple injuries. A pregnant woman and her husband were among the victims.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has urged Iran to immediately stop supplying Russia with suicide drones. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has proposed that Kyiv formally break off diplomatic ties with Iran.

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