Zelenskyy: Ukraine’s Air Defenses Repel 40 Russian Drones

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during his nightly address, touted Ukraine’s air defenses for downing 40 out of 45 Iran-made Shahed drones from a Russian attack of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said Kyiv is working to improve its air defenses and its electronic warfare systems calling it “one of the key priorities of the year.”

In a five-and-a-half-hour barrage, Russia attacked Ukraine overnight with dozens of drones, injuring at least one civilian and damaging a gas pipeline as well as residential buildings in the river and seaport of Mykolaiv, Ukraine’s military said Sunday.

Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, said Ukraine’s air force defense systems downed 40 out of the 45 Russia-launched, Iran-made Shahed attack drones.

“The air alert in the capital lasted almost two hours,” he said on Telegram.

According to preliminary information, there were neither casualties nor destruction in or near the capital.

In southern Ukraine, the military command said on Telegram that its air defense systems were engaged for more than five hours and destroyed 26 Russia-launched Shahed drones over several southern regions, mainly over the Mykolaiv region near the Black Sea.

At least one civilian was injured there from the falling debris.

“The priority for the enemy was again the coastal strip of infrastructure and agro-industrial facilities,” the military said.

Watch related report by Arash Arabasadi:

Falling debris from a downed drone and the blast wave damaged residential buildings and a gas pipeline in Mykolaiv, the military command said.

Four drones were downed over the Black Sea port of Odesa, the military said.

The Reuters news agency was not able to independently verify the reports.

Both Russia and Ukraine have intensified their air attacks in recent months, targeting each other’s critical energy, military and transport infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate passed a key procedural vote to advance a sweeping $95 billion foreign aid package. Ukraine would receive $61 billion to restock its depleted ammunition supplies, weapons and other crucial needs as it enters its third year of the defensive war against Russia.

Though the measure passed a procedural hurdle, it faces an uncertain future in the Republican-majority House.

Russia Starlink worries

Ukraine’s military intelligence said it has confirmed earlier reports that Russian troops are using Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite communications system for their communications on the battlefield. The satellite terminals had been sent to Ukraine after the Russian invasion in 2022. Since then, some of these territories in eastern Ukraine have been occupied by Russian forces.

The Ukrainian defense ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, or GUR, said they confirmed the system’s use by Russian forces.

“Cases of the Russian occupiers’ use of the given devices have been registered. It is beginning to take on a systemic nature,” GUR quoted spokesperson Andriy Yusov as saying.

Russia’s defense ministry did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

The GUR said it had intercepted an exchange between two Russian soldiers discussing setting up the terminals. It posted what it said was an audio clip of the exchange on Telegram.

The GUR did not specify how it thought the terminals had been obtained by Russian forces.

Starlink said on February 8 that its terminals were not active in Russia and that SpaceX had never sold or marketed the service in Russia or shipped equipment to locations in Russia.

In a statement posted on X, Starlink did not say anything about their possible use in occupied areas of Ukraine.

“If SpaceX obtains knowledge that a Starlink terminal is being used by a sanctioned or unauthorized party, we investigate the claim and take actions to deactivate the terminal if confirmed,” it said.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

Latest news
Related news