Russian forces targeted Kyiv using Iranian-made drones on the night of December 29 to 30, a continuation of an increased pace of drone attacks in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Air Force Command stated that Russian forces launched 16 Shahed-131 and -136 drones at targets in Ukraine on the night of December 29 to 30 and that Ukrainian air defenses shot down all of them.
Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces launched seven of the drones at targets in Kyiv and that Ukrainian air defenses shot down all of them, but one of the drones’ munitions hit an administrative building.
The Russian drone attacks follow a massive series of Russian missile and drone strikes against Ukrainian critical infrastructure on December 29 during which Russian forces launched 23 drones, the majority of which were Shaheds.
The Russian military’s use of 39 drones in the past two days, its use of 30 Shahed 131 and -136 drones on the night of December 18 and 19, and its use of 13 Shahed drones on December 14 represent a significant increase in its recent use of these systems in Ukraine.
ISW assessed on December 10 that an increased pace of Russian drone attacks may indicate that Russian forces accumulated more Iranian-made drones after a three-week period (November 17 to December 7) of not using them or that Russia received or expected to receive a new shipment of drones from Iran.
[quote]Russian forces have likely further increased their pace of drone attacks in an effort to sustain their campaign against Ukrainian critical infrastructure given their likely depleted stock of precision missiles.[/quote]
Ukrainian air defenses have recently proven to be highly effective at shooting down Shahed drones and the Russian military’s use of these systems in attacks against civilian targets in rear areas is having diminishing impacts.