Russia Ukraine War: What You Need To Know About The Kamikaze Drones Russia Is Using

A new wave of deadly Russian air strikes in Ukraine has killed more than 25 people and injured more than 100 in the biggest attack since the first days of the war, according to authorities in Kyiv.

The current attack, which began Oct. 10, targets at least 10 regions of the country and has been carried out using Russian missiles as well as Iranian- made drones, Ukrainian officials said.

Swarms of explosive- laden drones, known as ” kamikaze” drones, targeted Kyiv on Monday, killing at least four people and targeting a power plant.
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According to the mayor of Kyiv, among the victims was a young couple expecting a baby in three months.

The Ukrainian Air Force reported destroying at least 37 drones in one day. Authorities in Tehran, for their part, deny supplying Russia with weapons.

Here’ s what you need to know:

Why Are They Called ” Kamikaze” Drones?

Unlike drones, which return to base after firing missiles, ” Kamikaze” or ” Suicide” drones are destroyed when attacked.

Al Jazeera’ s defense analyst Alex Gatopoulos said these munitions could hover over an area to identify targets before diving in to destroy them.

Like cruise missiles, they can hit targets hundreds of miles away, but expensive cruise missiles and kamikaze drones are cheaper but more accurate alternatives, Gatopoulos said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia had purchased 2, 400 kamikaze unmanned aerial vehicles but its fleet was quickly running out.

Where Are They Imported From?

Ukraine claims Russia imported the drones from Iran, where they are known as the Shahed- 136, which can be translated as ” witnesses of the faith” but also as ” martyrs. ”

Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, accused Tehran of being responsible for ” the killing of Ukrainian citizens” . The Kremlin did not comment.

Iran, which cites NATO’ s presence in Eastern Europe as the main cause of the war, has rejected arms sales to Russia.

Gatopoulos said it was unlikely the drone was made in Russia because Moscow ” lags in the development of low- end tactical drones, especially armed ones. ”

Samir Puri, an analyst at King’ s College London, told Al Jazeera some sort of sales deal might have been reached between Moscow and Tehran.

Will They Change The Course Of The war In Ukraine?

Kamikaze drones cost a lot less than cruise missiles, but still not cheap.

One reportedly costs about $20, 000, Puri said.

” That’ s quite a lot considering they’ re disposable by definition. ”

But deployment in swarms poses a challenge to Ukrainian air defenses, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force told The Associated Press.

Western countries have pledged to help Kyiv’ s struggle with systems capable of shooting down drones, but many of those weapons have yet to arrive and in some cases could be months away.
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While the use of drones ” would give Ukraine another weapon system to worry about, ” it was unlikely to reverse, Puri said.

” No weapon system of this kind alone can change the outcome of the war, ” he said.

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