Iranian-made drones strike Kyiv in latest Russian offensive

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By Sasha Vakulina
Drones are prepared for launch during a military drone drill in Iran. The Iranian-made drones are used by Russia to strike Kyiv
Drones are prepared for launch during a military drone drill in Iran. The Iranian-made drones are used by Russia to strike Kyiv   -   Copyright  Iranian Army via AP

A few powerful explosions rocked Kyiv in the early hours of Monday morning, as officials claim the city was hit by a series of drone attacks again.

The Iranian-made 'Shahed' were reportedly launched from the eastern coast of the Azov sea. Ukraine’s air force says it shot down 30 out of 35 Russian-launched unmanned craft.

Ukraine's main Military Intelligence Directorate representative reported that the Russian military received a new batch of Iranian-made drones and continues to negotiate with the Islamic Republic on the acquisition of ballistic missile systems.

The Institute for the Study of War says the Russian military leadership is engaged in a campaign to present itself as part of an effective wartime apparatus in an effort to address the public perception of Russian failures in Ukraine. 

And that Vladimir Putin’s planned meeting with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday is likely part of the same effort to present proactivity as well as an effort to set information conditions for a new phase of the war.

But the ISW assesses the capacity of the Russian military, even reinforced by elements of the Belarus armed forces to prepare and conduct effective large-scale mechanized offensive operations in the next few months remains questionable.

The Belarusian defence ministry said in October that 9,000 Russian troops were moving to the country as part of a “regional grouping” of forces to protect its borders.

Russian troops that were moved to Belarus in October to become part of a regional formation will conduct battalion tactical exercises, the Russian Interfax news agency reported on Monday, citing the Russian defence ministry.

The ISW states that Putin may order renewed large-scale offensive operations later this winter, but it is important not to overestimate the likely capabilities of Russian or combined Russo-Belarus forces to conduct them successfully.

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