Russia says soldiers’ cell phone use led to deadly attack: Live update

credit…Laura Bushnak for The New York Times

Rattled and noisy, it’s relatively easy to shoot from the air.Over the New Year’s weekend, the Ukrainian army announced it was down one by one Of the 80-odd explosive drones Russia has sent to the country,

A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force said on Tuesday that “such results have never been achieved before.”

Beneath that result, however, are questions. If many of Ukraine’s defenses cost far more than drones, how long can Ukraine sustain its efforts?

Experts say the Shahed-136 drones used by Russia and supplied by Iran are relatively cheap, but the array of weapons used to shoot them from the air is much more expensive.

Artem Starosiek, head of Molfar, a Ukrainian consultancy that helps Ukraine fight the war, said using missiles to shoot down a drone is up to seven times more expensive than launching it. Estimated. Iran’s drones cost him only $20,000 to manufacture, but the cost of launching one of the surface-to-air missiles used by Ukraine is less than his $140,000 for his Soviet-era S-300. to $500,000 for his NASAM made in the USA. Or the nation’s advanced surface-to-air missile system.

According to some analysts, this imbalance could eventually turn in Russia’s favor, causing enormous damage to Ukraine and its allies.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a recent overnight speech that Russia was betting on “the exhaustion of its people, air defense and energy sectors.”

Morpher said he estimated that Russia had launched about 600 drones against Ukraine since September. The campaign, which picked up pace just as Moscow suffered a series of battlefield losses, turned into a rolling blackout just as the country’s harsh winter began to exacerbate the misery caused by the all-out Russian invasion. and caused an outage.

credit…Gleb Galanich/Reuters
credit…Directorate General of Strategic Communications of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, via Associated Press
credit…Brendan Hoffman of The New York Times

Both sides have used drones for more than just reconnaissance and attack since Russia launched its invasion in February, the first time they have been widely deployed in a European war.

Kyiv’s military authorities say little about the details and costs of air defenses, along with the operational secrecy that has shrouded much of their war plans, making analysis difficult.

Ukrainian forces have shot down some drones with anti-aircraft artillery and small arms, but as Russian forces begin to attack at night, Kyiv is also heavily hit by military aircraft and ground-launched missiles. Officials said Ukraine used surface-to-air missiles known as NASAM multiple times over the weekend to counter drones.

Michael Coffman, a Russian military expert at the CNA Institute, said Ukrainians use a “zoo of different air defense systems” to combat the threat, including Soviet-era and NATO missile systems, respectively. It has its own cost profile.

Some Ukrainian anti-aircraft guns, such as the Gepard-2 radar-directed mobile artillery system, are inexpensive compared to other deployed Soviet-era and European defense systems. Also, some American-made interceptor missiles are relatively expensive.

However, Starozik said the cost of shooting down a drone with a missile would have to be considered on a case-by-case basis. He noted that shooting down a drone is far less expensive than repairing a damaged or destroyed power plant. And then there’s the human factor.

“People are still alive,” he said.

In a report published on November 7, Morpher said 82% of drones were shot down, a figure that has since increased.

credit…Laura Bushnak for The New York Times

Ukraine now relies on the United States and other allies to supply and pay for its air defense systems, he said. There is a danger that those allies will grow weary of the cost over time.

“As long as Western countries continue to provide military support to Ukraine, the cost is irrelevant,” Burg said.

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