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Air Force: Russia to launch record number of Shahed drones this fall, winter

by Martin Fornusek October 8, 2023 7:44 PM 2 min read
Remains of a Shahed 136/131 drone at an exhibition showing remains of missiles and drones that Russia used to attack Kyiv on May 12, 2023, in Kyiv. (Photo: Oleksii Samsonov /Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Russia will likely launch a record number of Shahed kamikaze drones against Ukraine in the coming fall and winter months, Yuri Ihnat, the Air Force's spokesperson, said on Oct. 8.

The official pointed out that in September alone, Russian forces launched over 500 Shahed drones in attacks against Ukraine.

"In the six months of the previous heating season, Russia launched over 1,000 Shaheds against Ukraine. We already had half of that number in just one month," Ihnat said on air.

Ukrainian officials warned that Russia is likely to escalate its attacks against Ukraine's energy infrastructure in the coming months in order to cripple the country's power grid.

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Moscow attempted such a strategy during the fall and winter of 2022-2023, which led to frequent blackouts and a lack of heating across the country.

Ihnat emphasized that Ukraine needs to do all it can to reinforce its air defense capabilities to protect the airspace against Russian strikes. This means obtaining air defense systems from Kyiv's allies, such as Patriot, IRIS, or even older MIM-23 Hawk systems, the spokesperson said.

The Spanish government announced on Oct. 5 that it would provide Ukraine with six Hawk systems to protect Ukraine's civilian population and the new Black Sea corridor.

On the same day, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that his country would send Ukraine another Patriot air defense system "to help ward off aerial and drone attacks during the coming winter months."

With winter approaching, is Ukraine’s energy system ready for renewed Russian attacks?
The specter of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy system looms once again as winter rapidly approaches. Last year in early October, just as Ukraine’s heating season began, Russia launched a month-long series of missile and drone attacks against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leading to blackouts…

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