Iranian drones a game changer in Russia's favor: Politico
The Iranian drones are relatively small and fly at low altitudes, evading Ukrainian radars.
Iranian drones have started to fly over Ukraine for the first time in a little more than a week. The drones flew from Crimea, according to Andriana Arekhta, a first sergeant in the Ukrainian armed forces, and headed to attack a special forces unit fighting near the southern city of Kherson.
"The drones evaded the soldiers’ defenses and dropped bombs on their position, destroying two tanks with their crews inside," she added.
“It’s very difficult to see these drones on radars,” said Arekhta, who traveled to Washington, D.C., last week as part of a delegation of female Ukrainian soldiers. “It’s a huge problem.”
Over the past week, Russia has deployed Iranian Shahed-136 and Mohajer-6 combat drones across Ukraine, which led to "devastating results". Some hit combat positions and destroyed tanks and armored vehicles.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his speech on Friday that his country's anti-aircraft forces had shot down more than ten drones in the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region and Odessa. The Ukrainian Air Force claimed they were Shahed-136 and Muhajir-6 unmanned aircraft carrying munitions, which can also be used for reconnaissance, according to the Ukrainians.
However, three Ukrainian soldiers said in several interviews, according to the newspaper, that Iranian drones pose a major threat. They said their presence on the battlefield makes the West's need to send additional modern weapons even more urgent.
According to the newspaper, it appears that Iranian drones may be a game changer for the Russians. They are relatively small and fly low, evading Ukrainian radars.
Since the US-provided weaponry lack a night-vision system, Arekhta said they could be shot down with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles only during the day.
“I need to be in position against Russian helicopters on one side and Iranian drones came from another side,” Arekhta said. “It’s very hard to close the huge area with Stingers, with other weapons that can hit these drones.”
Arekhta says although the Switchblade 300 drones provided by Washington are used, they are essentially commercial systems and are insufficient to combat artillery and armored vehicles, hinting at the need for the updated Switchblade 600 drones as "a flying Javelin" with Ukrainian eyes now focused on them.