Photo Credit: The Strategic Communications Directorate of the Ukrainian Armed Forces
Part of an unmanned Shahed-136 aerial vehicle which was shot down near the town of Kupiansk, Ukraine, September 13, 2022.

According to Commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces General Serhiy Popko, 23 self-exploding enemy UAVs were recorded in the sky over the Ukrainian capital during an overnight Monday raid.

“Our defense forces destroyed 18 drones,” Popko claimed, according to the Ukrainian press service.


There were no casualties in the attack, Popko added, but the wreckage of drones damaged the roadway in the Solomiansky district of Kiev and the windows of a high-rise building in the Shevchenkivsky district.

“Unfortunately, there was a hit at a critical infrastructure facility, and emergency services are eliminating the consequences,” Popko said.

Serhii Kruk, head of Ukraine’s State Emergency Service, posted on Telegram: “This is how Russians congratulated our children on the holiday.”

Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine’s human rights chief, posted: “In the night when everyone is waiting for a miracle, the terrorist country continues to terrorize the peaceful Ukrainian people.”

Earlier in December, Russia ordered hundreds of new Iranian drones and ballistic missiles since it was experiencing an acute shortage of these weapons. The weapons will reportedly be manufactured by Iran on Russian soil.

Back in March, the Jerusalem Center for Public and State Affairs reported that Israel is very concerned about the activity of Iranian drones in the region, and in 2021, IDF F-35 warplanes intercepted two Iranian drones that were on their way from Iran to Israeli territory. According to the same report, the US and Israel are lagging behind and probably did not spot the danger of the Iranian drones in time.

In October, Stephen Bryen, a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, suggested that “Israel knows and is deeply concerned that Iran is allegedly supplying Russia with several different drones, including the Shahed-136.”

Ukrenergo, an electricity transmission system operator in Ukraine and the sole operator of the country’s high-voltage transmission lines, announced on Monday that “emergency blackouts are in effect in nine regions of Ukraine,” especially in the Zaporizhzhia region in southeast Ukraine.

“As of the morning of December 19, there was a difficult situation in the Ukrainian power system. The most difficult situation is in the Central, Eastern, and Dnieper regions. The emergency shutdown schedules were introduced in the Sumy, Kharkov, Poltava, Dnepropetrovsk, Kirovograd, Zhitomir, Chernigov, Cherkasy, Kiev regions and in Kiev,” the company reported on its Telegram channel.

The Iranian-made HESA Shahed 136, designed and manufactured by Shahed Aviation Industries––an Iranian maker of military helicopters and UAVs associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force––is a loitering munition pusher-prop drone. The Shahed 136 is designed to attack ground targets from a distance, fired in batches of five and upwards, to overwhelm air defenses by consuming their resources during the attack.

In late November, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry accused foreign companies of helping to aim Russian missiles at Ukraine. “In the past two weeks, Ukraine has been subjected to the most extensive shelling over the entire period of the full-scale war,” the Intelligence agency reported. “On November 15, Russia fired around 100 missiles at Ukrainian cities and villages… Due to massive shelling, residents of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Ternopil, Rivne, Khmelnytsky, and many other settlements were partially or completely left without electricity and water supply,” it said.

Last week, Kiev was attacked several times as part of a massive strike by Russia, as dozens of missiles were launched across Ukraine, triggering massive power outages.

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