Ukraine’s Air Force Claims Destruction of 27 Drones and Iskander Missile Launched by Russia
Kyiv reports fierce air battles
Ukraine’s Air Force said on Tuesday that it had shot down 27 out of 30 drones and one ballistic missile launched by Russia overnight, as the war between the two countries entered its 570th day. The Air Force said on Telegram that Russia had fired 30 attack drones and one Iskander-M missile from the occupied Crimea region towards the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, which is home to a large steel industry.
“As a result of combat work, 27 Shaheds were destroyed by anti-aircraft defense along the tracking route in the Southern, Central and Western regions. Also, a reconnaissance drone of operational-tactical level was destroyed in the eastern direction,” the Air Force said.
The Shahed is an Iranian-made drone that Russia has reportedly supplied to its proxy forces in eastern Ukraine. The Iskander-M is a short-range ballistic missile that can carry nuclear or conventional warheads and has a range of up to 500 kilometers.
Ukraine strikes back at Russian targets
Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said on Facebook that it had also launched nine air strikes on Russian concentrations of troops, weapons, and military equipment in different parts of the front line. It said that its missile troops had hit two enemy positions, three anti-aircraft missile systems, 19 artillery systems, and one command post.
The General Staff also reported that Russia had conducted 22 missile and 57 air strikes, and 55 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) attacks on the positions of Ukrainian troops and various settlements over the past day. It did not provide any information on casualties or damage caused by these attacks.
War escalates amid diplomatic deadlock
The latest air battles came amid a stalemate in diplomatic efforts to end the war, which began in February 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine after a popular uprising ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. Russia has since annexed Crimea and supported separatist rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where it has deployed thousands of troops and heavy weapons.
The war has killed more than 15,000 people and displaced millions more, according to U.N. estimates. It has also triggered a series of sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union against Russia, as well as a military buildup by NATO in eastern Europe.
The two sides have agreed to a ceasefire deal in 2015, but it has been repeatedly violated by both parties. A recent meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin failed to produce any breakthroughs on key issues such as border control, prisoner exchange, and local elections.
Zelenskyy is expected to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington next week, where he will seek more support for Ukraine’s security and sovereignty. Biden has pledged to provide $1 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Kyiv, as well as to work with its allies to deter further Russian aggression.
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