Drone and missile attacks rock Russia and Ukraine

Two sides continue to exchange assaults amid Kyiv's counter-offensive

An explosion in Kyiv. Russia uses a mix of different drone and missile systems against Ukraine. Reuters
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Russia and Ukraine exchanged drone and missile attacks overnight on Tuesday, amid Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the south and east of the country.

In another sign that Ukraine has expanded its arsenal of mainly locally produced long range drones, Russia said it had shot down a drone near Bryansk. Yesterday, Russia said it had shot down three drones that were launched towards Moscow.

Writing on the Telegram app, the Russian Ministry of Defence did not say if there were casualties or damage in the overnight incident.

Russia also launched a volley of missiles against Ukraine, with Kyiv issuing red air alerts across the whole of the country.

The capital's military administration said on the Telegram messaging app that air defences were in operation.

Reuters witnesses heard several blasts which sounded like air defence systems.

Escalating drone war

Russia uses a mix of different drone and missile systems against Ukraine that enable its air forces to strike the country without crossing into its airspace, where air defence systems are still active, despite Russia’s near 10 to one aircraft advantage.

The Russian Aerospace Force, or VKS (which includes the air force) has launched low-flying cruise missiles at civilian and military targets, such as grain depots on Ukraine's Black Sea ports. High-altitude jets have fired Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, capable of travelling five times faster than the speed of sound.

Ukraine has countered, mainly with western-made air defence systems including the US-made Patriot and the German-made IRIS-T and Gepard systems, as well as its own Soviet era systems, such as the S-300.

Russia also tries to overwhelm Ukrainian air defences using waves of cheap, Iran-made Shahed 136 explosive drones, known as the Geran in Russia.

But the air war has evolved and Ukraine has hit back, first modifying obsolete drones used for reconnaissance, including the TU-141, as low budget cruise missiles, before developing new long range drones, including the Beaver model which is claimed to have a range of hundreds of kilometres.

Updated: September 06, 2023, 10:33 AM