Russia appears to have stopped deploying Iranian-built Shahed-136 drones in Ukraine because they are not designed to function in freezing temperatures. The explosives-packed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been used to target population centres in the country for months, causing multiple injuries and fatalities.
However, Yevgeny Silkin, speaker of the Joint Forces Command for Strategic Communications of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, pointed out none have been detected since November 17.
Speaking on television yesterday, he explained: “I believe that it is decreasing, because any aircraft, which are drones, are made of plastic and of such materials that are sensitive to frost and weather conditions.
“We currently only have bomber training, which is moving, which is training with refuelling in the sky.
“And the drones have suspended their activity for the time being.”
Last month Ukraine confirmed it was seeking to boost its defences against Iranian drones with the acquisition of “drone catchers” designed to smash the weapons out of the air.
Mikhail Fedorov, the country’s deputy prime minister, told Forbes: “The next stage ignites me with energy. These are drones intercepting other drones.”
One Ukrainian insider told the i newspaper that attempts to secure an interceptor system were “advanced”, with several versions under consideration.
A defence industry source added: “Ukraine has proved itself very nimble at layering its air defences.
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“Adding an interceptor capability makes considerable sense given the nature of the threat. It will not be long before they are deployed in Ukraine.”
Among the interceptors likely to be under consideration is a British-designed system constructed by technology company MARSS, which has a speed of 300m per second and is designed to collide with a target UAV.
Speaking to October, former US marine John Sennett, 57, who was at the time living in Kyiv with Belarusian wife Natasha and dog Philly, offered an eyewitness account of a morning of carnage during which Russia launched drone strikes which killed four people, including a pregnant woman
Mr Sennett told Express.co.uk: “At I guess about 6.30, 6.45 this morning we heard this buzzing noise and then literally maybe three minutes later a huge explosion.
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“And so we ran in ran into the hallway and we heard another buzzing noise and then another explosion, probably 700 metres from where we live, I’m guessing about that.
“And then we heard another one a little bit later and then we heard heard a little bit more buzzing here and there and then they put an air raid on saying Caliber missiles had been shot from the Caspian Sea, but they hit Vinnytsia and Lviv, they didn’t hit Kyiv.”
He added: “They sound like a little motor scooter, like a moped, like the older ones that are a little bit louder.
“One went literally went right over our place – you hear them going and then you hear the explosion.
“They destroyed a residential building and killed four people.
“One was an elderly woman and they found an elderly man and then it was a young married couple and the woman was six months pregnant. It’s just awful.”