They are not the most dangerous thing Russia is using against Ukraine in this war, but they are undoubtedly one of the scariest. They are Iranian-made drones launched from Russia.

They are small … only about 9 feet by 9 feet.

They are relatively slow … they only travel at about a hundred miles per hour.

And they make a lot of noise … like a lawn mower or a moped.

However, they can be sent from thousands of miles away or more.

Firefighters help a local woman evacuate from a residential building destroyed by a Russian drone attack, which local authorities consider to be Iranian-made Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles, during the Russian attack on Ukraine in Kiev. , in Ukraine, on October 17, 2022.
(REUTERS / Vladyslav Musiienko)

IRAN SENT MORE THAN 3,500 DRONES TO RUSSIA FOR THE WAR AGAINST UKRAINE: DOSSIER INTEL

When they crash into something, the extra hundreds of pounds of explosives on board pack a punch. Hence their nickname, “kamikaze” drones, after the Japanese suicide pilots of World War II.

“These drones are very dangerous for us”, Ukrainian military intelligence officer “Vasily” told us, “they cause a lot of damage”.

Vasily, with a balaclava in the middle of his face, his identity hidden for security reasons, showed us a room full of Iranian drones in a Ukrainian military complex in Kiev. A larger reconnaissance drone that also carries explosives. Bombs, engines, driving devices.

Firefighters help a local woman evacuate from a residential building destroyed by a Russian drone attack, which local authorities consider to be Iranian-made Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles, during the Russian attack on Ukraine in Kiev. , in Ukraine, on October 17, 2022.

Firefighters help a local woman evacuate from a residential building destroyed by a Russian drone attack, which local authorities consider to be Iranian-made Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles, during the Russian attack on Ukraine in Kiev. , in Ukraine, on October 17, 2022.
(REUTERS / Vladyslav Musiienko)

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The small is what we have focused on. The name of the Iranian model is “Shahed 136”. When you’re close to it, and you can touch and control it … it looks pretty harmless, made of cheap fiberglass and painted a dull gray. The kind of thing you’d watch model airplane enthusiasts fly into a park on a Sunday afternoon.

However, hundreds of them rained down on Ukraine. Locals can see and hear them coming. They experience destruction, even against the power grid that is darkening much of this country now.

“We can see that these drones are targeting critical infrastructure targets,” Vasily explains.

Ukrainians are getting pretty good at taking them down with air defense systems; even sometimes with automatic rifles. Vasily showed me fragments of drones that had been thrown out of the sky or exploded on impact.

A Russian drone is seen during a Russian drone attack, which local authorities consider Iranian-made Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles, during the Russian attack on Ukraine, in Kiev, Ukraine, on October 17, 2022.

A Russian drone is seen during a Russian drone attack, which local authorities consider Iranian-made Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles, during the Russian attack on Ukraine, in Kiev, Ukraine, on October 17, 2022.
(REUTERS / Roman Petushkov)

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However, hundreds if not thousands of more of these relatively cheap drones are being sent from Iran to Russia. The fear is, as Ukrainian President Zelenskyy recently pointed out, of “mass attacks”. That is, a dozen to be aimed at a target. Even if 11 are shot down, it can ruin everything.

“The air defense system will not be able to make it,” admits Vasily.

As the struggle, on many fronts, in many threatening forms and dimensions, continues.

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