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Monday 27 March 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Carolyn Kaster/AP/PA Images Volodymyr Zelenskyy
# Airstrikes
Russia will step up exploding drone attacks on Ukraine, Zelenskyy says
The Institute for the Study of War said Vladimir Putin is looking to strengthen support for his strategy among key voices in Russia.

RUSSIA IS PREPARING to step up its attacks on Ukraine using exploding drones, according to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as Moscow looks for ways to keep the pressure on Kyiv after months of battlefield setbacks for the Kremlin.

“We have information that Russia is planning a prolonged attack by Shaheds (Iranian-made exploding drones),” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly video address on Monday.

He said the goal is to break Ukraine’s resistance by “exhausting our people, (our) air defence, our energy”, more than 10 months after the invasion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is exploring how to shore up confidence in Moscow’s flawed war effort, which in recent months has been dented by a Ukrainian counteroffensive backed by western-supplied weapons.

That has brought criticism in some Russian circles of the military’s performance.

In the latest embarrassment for the Kremlin, Ukrainian forces fired rockets at a facility in the eastern Donetsk region where Russian soldiers were stationed, killing 63 of them.

However, the strategic communications department of Ukraine’s armed forces yesterday said that nearly 400 Russian troops were killed in Makiivka.

Neither figure could be independently verified. Either way, it was one of the deadliest attacks on the Kremlin’s forces since the war began more than 10 months ago.

Ukraine’s western-reinforced air defences have made it difficult for Russian planes to carry out missile strikes.

The exploding drones are cheap weapons which also spread fear among troops and civilians. The US and its allies have clashed with Iran over its role in allegedly supplying them.

Screenshot 2023-01-03 10.15.36 Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo / AP/PA Images Vladimir Putin during his annual televised new year message Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo / AP/PA Images / AP/PA Images

The Institute for the Study of War said Putin is looking to strengthen support for his strategy among key voices in Russia.

“Russia’s air and missile campaign against Ukraine is likely not generating the Kremlin’s desired information effects among Russia’s nationalists,” the think tank said.

“Such profound military failures will continue to complicate Putin’s efforts to appease the Russian pro-war community and retain the dominant narrative in the domestic information space.”

‘Restless’ nights

Zelenskyy warned that “the nights may be quite restless” in coming weeks.

He added that during the first two days of the new year, which were marked by relentless night-time drone attacks on Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure, the country’s forces shot down more than 80 Iranian-made drones.

As well as hoping to wear down resistance to Russia’s invasion, the long-range bombardments have targeted the power grid to leave civilians at the mercy of biting winter weather amid power outages across the country.

“Every downed drone, every downed missile, every day with electricity for our people and minimal shutdown schedules are exactly such victories,” Zelenskyy said.

In the latest fighting, a Russian missile strike overnight on the city of Druzhkivka in the partially occupied eastern Donetsk region wounded two people, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said.

Officials said the attack ruined a sport arena described as the largest hockey and figure skating school in Ukraine.

Overnight Russian shelling was also reported in the north-eastern Kharkiv region and the south-eastern Dnipropetrovsk region.

In the recently retaken areas of the southern Kherson region, Russian shelling on Monday killed two people and wounded nine others, Kherson’s Ukrainian governor, Yaroslav Yanushevich, said today. He said Russian forces fired at the city of Kherson 32 times yesterday.

Press Association
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