June 18, 2024

ZAPORIZHZHIA (Reuters) – Ukraine’s air force expects a record number of Russian drone attacks on its soil this winter, its spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said on Sunday, as Kyiv girds for a second winter of mass bombardment of its energy facilities.

Ihnat said that data for September showed the use by Russia of Iranian-designed Shahed kamikaze drones would smash last year’s figure.

“This autumn and winter … is already a record in terms of the number of Shahed drones. Over 500 (were used) in September,” Ihnat said in an interview on national television.

He contrasted this number with Russia’s air strike campaign on Ukraine last winter, when he said about 1,000 Shahed drones were used in six months.

Attacks on energy facilites last winter damaged a significant chunk of Ukraine’s power system and forced most cities to ration electricity and hot water.

Despite Ukraine bolstering its air defences, officials have warned of the risk of a repeat this winter, with the power grid still far from rebuilt after the last campaign of bombardment.

(Reporting by Max Hunder; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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