Russia Hits Ukraine with Iranian-Made ‘Kamikaze’ Drones

Three people died in a drone attack on Kyiv on Monday, which Ukraine said was carried out by Iranian Shahed drones.
ukraine russia iran shahed drones
A police officer fires at a flying drone in Kyiv. PHOTO: YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images

Russia hit Kyiv with “kamikaze” drones manufactured in Iran in a deadly attack on Monday morning, Ukraine said. 

The attack came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that attacks across swathes of Ukraine last week would not be repeated in the near future. 

Tehran denies providing Moscow with weapons to use in the conflict, but reporters on the ground and the government in Kyiv say that Shahed-136 suicide drones manufactured in Iran have been seen over Kyiv as well as on battlefields elsewhere in the country.


Despite the Iranian denial, the well-tested suicide drones developed by Iran are wreaking havoc across Ukraine, and could signal a new phase in the eight-month-long war.

At least three people are reported to have died in the attack on a Kyiv housing block on Monday morning. Video and photos showed members of Ukrainian security forces shooting at the drones as they flew low over the city.  

The drone attack appeared to target energy infrastructure close to a train station. Kyiv fears that Russia is sabotaging its energy networks as winter approaches and trying to sow panic. 

Russia said it aimed at “designated targets”, including “military command facilities and energy systems.” 

Iran has been open about its drone programme, which it debuted in conflicts in the Middle East. The cheap and easily assembled fleets of drones used by Iran-backed forces have been mostly put to work for targeting oil refineries, airports, and military targets, causing considerable damage and disruption in places like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Iraq. 

Periodically, Iranian state media displays fleets of locally made drones in bunkers, paraded by senior figures in the feared Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).  

The IRGC-developed program has proven vital in targeting far-distanced targets beyond the frontlines, causing havoc.

Last month, the US Treasury slapped sanctions on a Tehran-based aviation firm for its involvement in transporting drones to Russia. 

The Iranian foreign ministry denied supplying Moscow with drones for the war in Ukraine and called reports “foreign media propaganda.”

Shahed drones are suicide, or “one-way”, drones which are generally accompanied by another Mohajer surveillance drone. With distinctive loud engine sounds that have earned them comparisons to mopeds, they fly in pairs and swarm around their targets.