Russian drones damaged more than 2 thousand residential buildings in Ukraine

Front-line Regions suffer the most from UAV attacks.
Hanna Korchmar01 June 2024UA DE EN ES FR RU

Ілюстрація: © Марія Крикуненко Иллюстрация: © Мария Крикуненко

Illustration: © Mariia Krykunenko

The war in Ukraine has given new life to drones. Although expensive unmanned systems have long been used by the armies of NATO countries, with the outbreak of a full-scale war with Russia, drones have become a separate branch of the military and occupy an increasingly large part of the weapons on the battlefield.

The Russians, looking at the experience of the Ukrainians, also began mass production and purchase of unmanned vehicles — they are often sent to attack civilian targets in different cities of Ukraine. With a decrease in the supply of missiles, kamikaze drones have become the main instrument of attacks on power plants and the source of terror for the population of Ukraine.

During the war, the Russian military used the following models of unmanned aerial vehicles:

  1. Orlan-10. This is one of the most common Russian UAVs, designed for reconnaissance, surveillance, and artillery fire correction. It can fly at high altitudes and collect data on enemy positions, making it a valuable tool for the Russian military.
  2. Outpost. This UAV is a copy of the Israeli Searcher Mk II, produced in Russia under license. The outpost is used for medium-range reconnaissance and surveillance and can remain aloft for up to 16 hours.
  3. ZALA 421-16E. This is a miniature UAV designed for short-range surveillance and real-time data collection. Its compact dimensions allow it to be used in confined spaces and rugged terrain.
  4. Aileron-3 — used for tactical reconnaissance at short distances. This UAV can be launched manually and is highly mobile, allowing it to be quickly deployed in combat conditions.
  5. Tachyon. This mini-UAV collects intelligence information on the battlefield. It can be launched from a catapult and is capable of observing in all weather conditions.
  6. The Lancet is a kamikaze-attack UAV used to destroy ground targets. It can hover in the air for up to 40 minutes while waiting for a target. It has a high-precision guidance system and can effectively destroy enemy equipment and infrastructure.
  7. The Kub-UAV is the predecessor of the “lancets”; it is another kamikaze attack drone equipped with an explosive charge and can be used to carry out targeted strikes on strategic targets.
  8. Granat-4 is a medium-range UAV designed to perform reconnaissance and observation missions. It can fly over long distances and transmit collected information in real-time.
  9. Shahed-136 (Geranium-2). This is an Iranian kamikaze UAV, also produced in Russia. It has a long range and is designed to destroy both military and civilian targets.

Devices such as Shahed-136 (Geran-2) and Kub-UAV (Lancet-3) are used for attacks on civilian targets. According to information collected by the global T4P initiative, these unmanned aerial vehicles have been used to commit at least 3,147 crimes in Ukraine. The strikes injured 276 people and damaged a large number of civilian infrastructure.

Damage from UAV strikes

As a result of the strikes, in particular, the following were damaged:

  • 238 business objects — shops, factories, etc.
  • 76 educational institutions — schools, kindergartens and universities
  • 34 government institutions, including administrative buildings
  • 2087 residential buildings
  • 26 transport infrastructure facilities, including roads, bridges, and railways
  • 22 hospitals
  • 124 facilities such as water supply, electricity, and heat supply systems
  • 171 vehicles belonging to both individuals and organizations, in particular ambulances and humanitarian aid vehicles

Geography of impacts

The strikes were carried out throughout Ukraine, but specific areas suffered the most:

Zaporizhzhia Region — the largest number of strikes was inflicted: 1643. This is due to the region’s strategic importance.

Kherson Region — 546 strikes, which is explained by its location near the front line and the presence of key transport hubs.

Odessa Region — 336 strikes, primarily due to its importance as a seaport and logistics center.

Dnipro Region — 146 strikes due to the region’s industrial importance and the location of critical industrial facilities.

Why destroy civilian objects?

UAVs are used to attack civilians for different purposes:

  • Intimidation of the population. Constant attacks create an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty that demoralizes people and affects their psychological stability.
  • Destruction of civilian infrastructure. The destruction of buildings, schools, hospitals, and administrative buildings greatly complicates communities’ everyday life and functioning.
  • Undermining life-support infrastructure. Attacks on water, electricity, and heat supply systems aim to deprive people of basic living conditions, which is especially critical in winter.

Consequences for the population of Ukraine

The consequences of using UAVs to attack civilian targets are catastrophic. In addition to physical destruction that directly harms people’s lives and health, they create additional challenges:

  • Humanitarian crisis. Massive destruction of residential buildings forces people to flee their homes, creating a large flow of internally displaced persons and refugees.
  • Economic losses. Destroyed infrastructure and businesses mean job losses and reduced economic activity. The service sector’s work is aggravated by power outages and the need to close during alarms.
  • Psychological stress. When every day you can come under attack from drones, this creates severe pressure on residents of cities and villages — especially in front-line regions, where the time to respond is minimal.

Attacks by the Russian military using UAVs should not be perceived as “easier” or less dangerous than other attacks. Like missile or artillery strikes, they cause significant harm to Ukrainian business and the daily life of the civilian population, and their cheapness allows them to be used en masse, which in sheer numbers causes even greater destruction than single launches of expensive and powerful missiles.

Editor: Denys Volokha

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