Firefighters work at the site where a shopping mall was heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Dnipro, Ukraine December 29, 2023.

Russia Launches Massive Attack On Ukraine With Iranian Drones

Friday, 12/29/2023

Russia launched 122 missiles and 36 drones against Ukrainian targets, killing at least 13 civilians in what was described as the biggest barrage of the 22-month war.

Ukraine’s military chief, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, said Friday that the Ukrainian air force intercepted 87 of the ballistic and cruise missiles and 27 of the Shahed-type drones overnight. The aerial attack that began Thursday and continued through the night, hitting six cities, including the capital, Kyiv, and other areas from east to west and north to south Ukraine.

Air Force commander Mykola Oleshchuk wrote on his official Telegram channel that it was “the most massive aerial attack” since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

At least 88 people were injured and an unknown number were buried under rubble during the roughly 18-hour onslaught, Ukrainian officials said. Among the buildings reported to be damaged across Ukraine were a maternity hospital, apartment blocks and schools.

Emergency service members work at a residential building destroyed during a Russian missile and drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine December 29, 2023.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on X, “Today, Russia used nearly every type of weapon in its arsenal.”

Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said on air that an attack of this scale "has not been seen for a long time." According to the Ukrainian air force, the previous biggest assault was in November 2022 when Russia launched 96 missiles against Ukraine.

Western officials and analysts have recently warned that Russia had limited its cruise missile strikes in recent months in an apparent effort to build up stockpiles for massive strikes during the winter.

Iran has supplied hundreds of the kamikaze Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to Russia since mid-2022, which Moscow has used extensively to target civilian infrastructure and cities.

The drones are also used during massive missile attacks to overwhelm Ukrainian air defenses. The drones are relatively cheap, costing around $20,000 each and Ukraine sometimes has to fire much more expensive anti-air missiles to bring them down.

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