Russia has attacked the Ukrainian port city of Odesa with kamikaze drones from the Black Sea. As a result, a civilian was killed, Operational Command South reported, as per the Odesa city council.
Two drones, which act as loitering munitions, destroyed an administrative building in the port area, and rescue services are fighting the fire. One Shahed-136 was shot down over the sea by Ukraine’s air defense forces.
Russia attacks Odesa with Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drones, kills civilian
2 drones, which act as loitering munitions, destroyed an administrative building in port area. 1 was shot down over the sea by Ukraine’s air defense https://t.co/yU37qdczgx
📽️ https://t.co/B5GFrqripR pic.twitter.com/zqc2icocjL
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) September 23, 2022
Over half an hour on 23 September, explosions were heard in Odesa while drones flew above the city. At 14:20 the first explosion occurred, and at 14:30 an air raid was declared.
This is Russia’s first use of Shahed-136 drones against civilians in Ukraine.
Iranian Shahed-136 drones in the war against Ukraine
On September 16, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed that the Russian military uses Iranian drones in Ukraine for the first time. They noted that shooting down this target is extremely difficult, so additional equipment and intense monitoring by the air defense units are required.
Yurii Ihnat, the spokesperson for the Air Force Command explained that Shahed 136 is barely visible on radars; it’s a relatively small aerial target that flies mainly at a low altitude. It can be shot down with different air defense systems, or even small arms. But the best options, in this case, would be anti-aircraft guns or, for example, such air defense systems as Ukraine’s ZSU-23-4 Shylka or Germany’s Gepard. Also, the drones can be taken down with electronic warfare systems.
The Ukrainian military has been shooting down Shahed-136s on the battleground. For example, on September 22, 5 kamikaze drones were shot down over Mykolaiv Oblast. At least four of them were Iranian-made Shahed-136s. The drones were used against Ukraine during its recent successful offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, creating problems for Ukrainian artillery units, WSJ reported.
The Washington Post and CNN reported earlier that Iran had sent a batch of unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia. According to them, drones Mohajer-6, Shahed-129, and Shahed-191 were sent to Russia on August 19. Sources close to US intelligence said that the Russian military was dissatisfied with the first tests of the Iranian UAVs, as they faced numerous malfunctions. However, according to WP, Moscow intends to buy hundreds of such drones from Tehran.
Although Iran’s drone program has been developing since the late 1980s, the country is under sanctions, and many of the drones are believed to have been largely copied from foreign vehicles.