Russian forces fighting blind as Putin's men running out of UAVs' to spot Ukraine troops

The news comes as Russian losses press Vladimir Putin’s men to take ever more desperate measures, including using longer-range and less accurate weapons in the fight against Ukrainian defences. Already Putin has seen his military manpower reduced by over 50,000 troops, with the latest figures released following yesterday’s fighting pushing the number over the 50k threshold. With the Kremlin desperate to hold on to occupied land in eastern Ukraine, the use of UAVs (drones) has been a vital part of monitoring Ukrainian movements, yet it seems Kyiv has openly been able to thwart Putin’s drones with ease.

According to the latest MoD report, drones are quickly becoming irreplaceable as sanctions bite.

The report reads: “Ukraine’s offensive operations in the Kherson region continued over the weekend.

“On 05 September 2022, the Odesa Journal reported 27 sorties by Russian uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) on the west bank of the Dnipro, compared to an average of 50 a day throughout August.”

Speaking of the defence against drones, it continued: “On 21 August 2022, Ukrainian forces reported shooting down three Russian Orlan-10 tactical UAVs in a single day.

“In recent years, Russian doctrine has given an increasingly prominent role for UAVs, particularly to spot targets for its artillery to strike.

“UAVs can be vulnerable to both kinetic effects – where they are directly shot down – and to electronic jamming.

“In the face of combat losses, it is likely that Russia is struggling to maintain stocks of UAVs, exacerbated by component shortages resulting from international sanctions.”

The report concluded the loss of drones would cause major frustration to Russian plans in Ukraine by saying: “The limited availability of reconnaissance UAVs is likely degrading commanders’ tactical situational awareness and increasingly hampering Russian operations.”

Since the start of the war, Russia has sought help from allies to resupply stocks.

Rumours spread last month that Iran was providing training to Russian troops on the use of indigenously made UAVs.

Furthermore, reports have suggested Moscow is also turning to North Korea for arms.

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According to Tyler Rogoway writing in The Drive, Iranian drones have in fact made it to Russian front-line control.

Mr Rogoway said: “Mohajer-6s and the Shahed-series of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, reportedly make up at least some of the initial shipment, and different variations of the types are capable of various operations including conducting surveillance, strikes, and electronic warfare missions.

“Several media outlets have cited both Iranian and US defence officials, named and unnamed, in their reports about the delivery, which is largely said to have been an effort to provide a way for Russia to quickly get its hands on the kinds of capabilities it desperately needs for its faltering operations in Ukraine.”

However, Tehran has denied it is sending equipment to Moscow, with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian saying Iran’s “principled and clear position” in opposing the war in Ukraine is “not like the dual approach taken by some Western countries”.

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Meanwhile, support for Ukraine remains high amongst Western allies, with UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace heading to Germany this week to discuss long-term funding for Ukraine with counterparts in Berlin.

The West has provided Ukraine with defence systems and funding since the start of the war, with much of the equipment supplies accredited with the huge losses towards Russian offences.

Britain has provided hundreds of NLAW anti-tank missiles, largely praised for the destruction of over 2,000 Russian tanks.

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Ukraine is preparing a large-scale counter-offensive against Putin over the coming weeks in order to liberate captured towns, cities and provinces.

A senior Ukrainian official, Oleksiy Arestovych said on Telegram: “Counter-offensive actions by the Armed Forces of Ukraine are taking place not only in the south of Ukraine but also in the east and southeast.

“These are subtle movements on the map.

“But the beginning of counter-offensive actions on different sectors of the front on our part speaks of a change in the situation as a whole.”

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