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Russia uses Iran-made 'kamikaze drones' near Kyiv

Russian forces attacked Bila Tserkva - around 90 kilometres from Kyiv - with six drone strikes on Tuesday night. This is the first time Iranian drones have flown so far from the front line. One person was hurt. Three infrastructure buildings were damaged.

During the air raid alert, announced at 01:33, residents of Bila Tserkva heard the characteristic sounds of Iranian drones flying, and then six explosions. Fires broke out at the site of the hits, which were promptly extinguished in the morning. One person was injured and is now in the hospital. In the video below, the kamikaze drone sounds and explodes.

One of the eyewitnesses filmed a video of the nighttime attacks.

Russia has increasingly been using suicide drones in recent weeks, posing a new challenge to Ukrainian defences. Before launching kamikaze drones into the Kyiv region, the russians attacked Odessa and Mykolaiv regions with these drones for several weeks.

Military expert Alexander Kovalenko said: "Today, protection algorithms are already being developed. We have already reached a fairly high level of destruction of these UAVs - 90-100%. This time more than two packages were used. One package of the Shahed-136 UAV is five drones, and they used 12. They were able to break through our air defense precisely due to this, six UAVs were destroyed, and six reached their goal.

In Nikopol, they also found the remains of the Iranian Shahed-136 UAV, which the russians bought for the war with Ukraine and are marked as "Geran-2". The fact that these UAVs are Iranian can be easily established thanks to the Iranian Mado M550 engines, which, even after the destruction of the drone, usually remain more or less intact.

Characteristics of kamikaze drones Shahed-136 (Russians call it "Geran-2"):

Drone kamikaze Shahed-136 is designed to hit targets at a long distance. It is aimed at a stationary target by satellite coordinates. It is launched from the launch platform, has an engine with which it gains speed and height. The target is hit by a warhead in the nose of the drone. It is difficult for Ukrainian air defense systems to track them because these drones are small in size and fly low. Drones can cover a distance of up to 2.5 thousand km, they are usually launched in pairs or even groups. Shahed-136 have modifications with cameras that are capable of providing high-precision strikes. However, the variant without cameras is more common, which is guided by satellite coordinates and is capable of hitting only stationary objects. Shahed-136 can fly to any city in Ukraine, in particular to Lviv. Kamikaze drone attacks can cause significant damage and hit critical infrastructure.

How many drones Russia purchased from Iran is unknown, as well as their exact price is unknown. At the same time, according to data from open sources, the cost of Iranian drones probably reaches $3-4 million apiece, because one American Predator UAV, from which the Shahed-136 was copied, costs so much. At the same time, military experts say that the price of Iranian drones probably does not exceed several hundred thousand dollars, so it is unprofitable to spend serious air defense or anti-aircraft systems on them.

Iran officially denies the supply of drones to Russia, which are actively used for strikes against Ukrainian targets.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the published information about the delivery of Iranian drones to Russia for use in the Ukrainian conflict unfounded and does not confirm these data," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said, Xinhua writes. According to him, since the beginning of the conflict, Iran has firmly taken a position of neutrality and non-intervention.

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