Russia’s suicide drones labeled as ‘barbaric’ by Michael Danby
Russia says it struck multiple US-supplied vehicles for the first time in its bloody conflict amid reports of alarming progress being made in the production of deadly “suicide” drones.
The Russian defence ministry claims its forces struck four US-supplied Stryker armoured vehicles in a successful offensive in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, state news agency RIA reported.
If true, it would mark the first time Russian forces have struck the American-made war trucks and could represent a threat to Ukraine’s momentous counteroffensive.
The report could not be independently verified. Russia is also reportedly mass producing a deadly type of drone for looming strike barrages.
Documents suggest Moscow is steadily advancing with its plan to replicate the Iranian-made Shahed attack device capable of travelling more than 1,000 miles, according to a report in The Washington Post.
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Russia’s own version of the Shahed-136 could be churned out at a new drone factory in the Tatarstan region 500 miles (800 km) east of Moscow, the report suggests.
It is allegedly aiming to build at least 6,000 with the help of Tehran by 2025, according to documents leaked from the program and seen by the Post.
It comes after Iran was caught building the weapons and then shipping them across the Caspian Sea for use by Russian forces against Ukraine in their illegal war, according to the White House.
Several hundred drones have reportedly been transferred since last August.
Meanwhile, Washington has called on Tehran to stop selling spare parts for the drones, as well as the armed drones themselves, to Russia.
That is according to a report in the Financial Times citing an Iranian official and another person familiar with the talks suggested.
The Shahed-136 UAVs have been dubbed “suicide” or “kamikaze” drones as they swoop down into stationary targets before detonating.
The terrifying long-range weapon can travel more than 1,500 miles and whiz through the air at speeds of 120mph.
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The weapons operate using a “one-way loitering munition”, meaning they are designed to find and then crash into their target – just like Japanese Kamikaze plans were known to do in World War Two.
The drones also have a wingspan of 2.5 metres and cost around $10,000 (£8,675). These have repeatedly been shot down amid the conflict in Ukraine.
But the devices have also been used to target much of the war-torn nation’s critical infrastructure, causing civilian deaths and mass blackouts.
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