Social media posts revealed early on Wednesday morning, Ukraine time, how Russian forces appeared to be launching a fresh attack on Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine, using kamikaze-style drones.
“Kyiv Oblast Governor Oleksiy Kuleba reported early on Oct. 5 that Russian forces targeted the city of Bila Tserkva with kamikaze drones. Bila Tserkva is located 80 kilometers south of Kyiv,” independent Ukrainian news outlet The Kyiv Independent reported.
Kuleba reportedly said that an “infrastructure object” had caught fire and that one person had been injured as a result of the attack.
Rescue operations are reportedly underway, with Kyiv residents urged to remain in their shelters.
Photographs also emerged on Twitter showing explosions in Bila Tserkva.
Pro-Kremlin Telegram channel Rybar also described how local sources reported a Shahed-136 Iranian kamikaze drone strikes, as well as several other UAV sightings in Odessa.
???? Local sources report Geran-2 (Shahed-136) kamikaze drone strikes on AFU targets in Bila Tserkva in Kyiv Region.
Some UAVs were also seen in Odessa, targeted by anti-air. Preliminary reports suggest one drone was downed near Rybakivka. pic.twitter.com/0k4CGnrIUv
— Rybar in English (@rybar_en) October 5, 2022
Weeks in the Making
The news comes after reports revealed how Russian forces were increasing their dependence on kamikaze-style drones, particularly in southern Ukraine. After a rocky start with Iranian drones, with some of the earlier deliveries reportedly malfunctioning on the battlefield, Russian forces are believed to have deployed hundreds of the drones since they first arrived in early September.
In late September, Ukrainian forces revealed how they had successfully shot down several of the drones in the Mykolaiv region. The drones are believed to have been launched from Russian-occupied territory within Ukraine, including Crimea and Kherson.
Reports also suggested that the drones had been repainted in Russian colors.
Tehran denied claims that the drones in use by the Russians came from Iran after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cut diplomatic ties with the country. In a televised address in late September, Zelenskyy accused Russia of using Iranian drones for the first time in Ukraine.
“Today the Russian army used Iranian drones for its strikes. The world will know about every instance of collaboration with evil, and it will have corresponding consequences,” Zelenskyy said.
A photograph of an Iranian-manufactured drone used by the Russian military shared by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on Monday appeared to prove Zelenskyy’s claims correct, even before Russian forces launched their fresh drone strike campaign on Kyiv.
Assuming the photograph is real, it appears to depict a Qods Mohajer-6 drone, one of 210 drones of this type to have been manufactured in Iran over the last four years.
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Russian forces conducted over 70 UAV sorties on October 2, with other Ukrainian sources claiming that Russian kamikaze drone attacks were conducted using Shahed-136 UAVs in Mykolaiv Oblast and Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast on the same day.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.