Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Short On Shells, UKR Relies On Explosive Drones to Hold RU Back; UKR Unleashes More Drones, Missiles at RU Areas as part of its New Year Strategy; RUs Failing to Block Kupiansk or Conduct Successful Attacks There; UKR Reports 62 Combat Clashes-Past Day, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Photographs by Manu Brabo for The Wall Street Journal
Short on Shells, Ukraine Relies on Explosive Drones to Hold Russia Back:
The drones are more accurate than artillery, but far less powerful. They are helping Ukraine to fend off Russia’s forces, at least for now:
Ukraine—From a bunker on the southeastern front, it’s easy to hear how Ukraine’s supply of artillery ammunition has dwindled. For every five or six incoming Russian shells, the Ukrainians fire back once or twice.
As the war approaches its third year, Russia is on the offensive, backed by an economy on a war footing. Ukraine, meanwhile, is short on ammunition as additional aid from its main backer, the U.S., remains blocked in Congress.
With artillery shells running low, Ukrainian troops on the front lines are improvising and using explosive drones to try to hold the Russians back.
“We’re increasingly using FPV drones because we have a lack of shells,” said Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation. But, he added, “drones can’t replace artillery completely.”
Ukraine’s growing reliance on FPV, or first-person-view, drones offers a preview of what the war might look like if the flow of Western weapons to Kyiv were severely curtailed.
With additional aid packages from the U.S. and the European Union stalled, Ukrainian forces are running short on ammunition, money and manpower. Many brigades are depleted from the summer counteroffensive, which failed to make a significant breakthrough.
Now, the Ukrainians are trying to make do until more resources arrive. As in the first weeks of the war—before Western weapons flooded into the country—that short-handedness has led to unorthodox tactics and MacGyvered weapons to plug holes, such as substituting FPV drones for artillery fire.
The drones can’t fly as far or fast as artillery. They can’t carry as much explosive, or blast through a concrete wall. But at just a few hundred dollars each, the drones cost far less than artillery shells and are much easier to produce—volunteers buy drones from commercial vendors and deliver them to the soldiers, who rig them with explosives.
Both sides have made increasing use of FPV drones over the past six months as they’ve shown their usefulness on Ukraine’s flat, open fields. They’re far more accurate than artillery, allowing the drone pilots to chase down moving vehicles and troops on foot. While artillery usually needs several shots to hit a target, FPV drones hit almost every time. --->READ MORE HERE
Ukraine unleashes more drones and missiles at Russian areas as part of its new year strategy:
Russian air defenses downed dozens of Ukrainian drones in occupied Crimea and southern Russia on Friday, officials said, as Kyiv pressed its strategy of targeting the Moscow-annexed peninsula and taking the 22-month war well beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Air raid sirens wailed in Sevastopol, the largest city in Crimea, and traffic was suspended for a second straight day on a bridge connecting the peninsula, which Moscow seized illegally a decade ago, with Russia’s southern Krasnodar region. The span is a crucial supply link for Russia’s war effort.
The Russian Defense Ministry said its defenses intercepted 36 drones over Crimea and one over Krasnodar, part of an emerging pattern of intensified Ukrainian aerial attacks in recent days.
A Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile also was destroyed over the northwestern part of the Black Sea, the ministry said.
The developments came after three people were injured Thursday night by other Ukrainian rocket and drone attacks on the Russian border city of Belgorod and the surrounding region, said Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov.
He posted photographs on Telegram of an apartment building with some windows shattered and damaged cars. He said authorities could help those wanting to move farther from the border.
Ukrainian attacks on Dec. 30 in Belgorod killed 25 people, officials there said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pledged to hit more targets on the Crimean Peninsula and inside Russian border regions this year. The goal is to unsettle Russians as President Vladimir Putin seeks another six years in power in a March 17 election. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Russians failing to block Kupiansk or conduct successful attacks there +++++

+++++Ukraine’s General Staff reports 62 combat clashes in past day+++++

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