Of the same class as "Shaheds": Dykyi told about the drones that flew to St. Petersburg
An attack on an oil depot in the Leningrad region of the Russian Federation was recently carried out with the help of a Ukrainian analog of Iranian Shahed kamikaze drones. Ukrainian companies were able to develop UAVs with tactical and technical characteristics comparable to Iranian drones from scratch, and in 2023 they tested them not only at training grounds but also in real combat conditions.
As a result, Ukraine now has UAVs that can not only fly over 1000 km, but are also capable of hitting targets at pre-entered coordinates. This was stated by Yevhen Dykyi, a veteran of the Aidar battalion, on Radio Liberty.
He noted: "It took Ukraine a year to learn how to effectively counter Iranian kamikaze drones, which Russia has been using to attack our country since 2022. At the same time, Dykyi added, Ukrainian specialists were working on creating weapons with the same tactical and technical characteristics. And the recent drone attack on an oil depot near St. Petersburg was a visual confirmation that this work was successful.
"In fact, we are talking about drones of the same class. What we are talking about now are, in fact, Ukrainian analogs of Shaheds. This does not mean that they necessarily look like that, but I mean the tactical and technical characteristics. That is, it is a long-range drone that can fly more than a thousand kilometers and hit a target at pre-entered coordinates. These are actually the same class of vehicles," the veteran emphasized.
He also emphasized that Russia has not been able to develop something like this on its own. But, in the end, it did not really need to, because "brotherly" Iran not only handed over batches of its drones to the aggressor state since the beginning of the full-scale war, but also issued a "license" to Russia for their production and assembly line. This allowed the occupiers to assemble about 300 drones per month in the city of Elabuga in Tatarstan.
Ukraine, unlike Russia, did not have such "generous" allies willing to share technologies for the production of long-range kamikaze drones, says Dykyi.
"We had to start from scratch. None of our Western allies provided us with anything like this. The task was set back in 2022. In 2023, the first tests began. Our first vehicles, in particular, the same Beavers sponsored by the Shelter Foundation, were already flying around Moscow City. This was also a GUR operation. By the way, this was also a purely Ukrainian combination: the operation is planned by the GUR (perhaps our most powerful intelligence service today), but at the same time, unofficial vehicles sponsored by private volunteer foundations are used," the expert noted, not without irony, calling the use of weapons by the Defense Forces that are not even on the balance sheet of the Armed Forces "a vivid example of 'public-private cooperation.
Dykyi added that the production of drones in Ukraine is currently actively developing. Both state-owned defense plants and private initiatives are working on their development and production, and to a greater extent, they are emerging as a result of private initiatives.
"There are at least a dozen, and now probably 15 different companies that compete with each other in a good way. Three tasks are being solved in parallel. The first is how to fly even further. The second is how to carry more explosives, because the size of the combat unit determines a lot. It determines what kind of target you can hit. And finally, the key question is how to accurately aim at the target," he said.
On January 18, it was reported that a drone attacked an oil terminal near St. Petersburg . Russian Telegram channels stated that the "Armed Forces of Ukraine tried to attack" an oil terminal in St. Petersburg with a drone that "carried about 3 kg of explosives." Citing unnamed sources, the propagandists wrote that the wreckage of the UAV fell on the territory of the St. Petersburg Oil Terminal.
At the same time, the fact that the drone had reached St. Petersburg was first confirmed by the Russian Defense Ministry. However, they traditionally stated that the UAV was neutralized and that it allegedly did not cause any damage.
The DIU, which claimed responsibility for the attack , has different information about the results of the drone's use. The intelligence officers said that the task was carried out with the use of modern Ukrainian means and have confirmation of the targets being hit. While the consequences of the attack are still being clarified, the Russian invaders in the Leningrad region and in St. Petersburg itself were advised by the GUR to get used to the fact that they are now also within the range of Ukrainian forces.
Later, even more interesting details about the attack emerged, which became eloquent evidence of the real state of Russian air defense: it turns out that before hitting the oil depot, a Ukrainian drone flew over Putin's residence in Valdai. And maximum air defense resources have been deployed to protect it from air attacks.
According to the Minister of Strategic Industries of Ukraine, Oleksandr Kamyshyn, the drone that struck St. Petersburg was produced by Ukraine. The drone flew 1,250 kilometers before hitting the target.