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Ukraine's air defense successfully fended off 40 Russian drones, according to President Zelenskyy.
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Ukraine’s air defense successfully fended off 40 Russian drones, according to President Zelenskyy.

During his nightly speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Ukraine’s air defense systems for successfully shooting down 40 out of the 45 Shahed drones, which were made in Iran, during a Russian attack on Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy announced that efforts are being made to enhance the country’s air defense and electronic warfare capabilities, citing it as a top priority for the year.

During a five-and-a-half-hour period, Russia launched an intense attack on Ukraine, using numerous drones. This resulted in one civilian being injured and damage to a gas pipeline and residential buildings in the city of Mykolaiv, a river and seaport, according to the Ukrainian military on Sunday.

According to Serhiy Popko, the leader of Kyiv’s military administration, Ukraine’s air defense systems successfully shot down 40 out of 45 Shahed attack drones launched by Russia and made in Iran.

He reported on Telegram that the air warning in the city continued for nearly two hours.

Based on initial reports, there were no injuries or damage in or around the city.

According to a military announcement on Telegram, air defense systems in southern Ukraine were activated for over five hours. During this time, they successfully took down 26 Shahed drones launched by Russia in various southern areas, particularly in the Mykolaiv region near the Black Sea.

A civilian was hurt by debris that fell in the area.

According to the military, the enemy’s main focus remained on attacking the coastal area’s infrastructure and agro-industrial buildings.

View the accompanying report from Arash Arabasadi:

According to the military command, a gas pipeline and residential buildings in Mykolaiv sustained damage due to falling debris and the force of the explosion from a crashed drone.

The military reported that four drones were shot down in the port of Odesa, located on the Black Sea.

Reuters was unable to confirm the reports on its own.

In recent months, Russia and Ukraine have escalated their air strikes, specifically targeting important energy, military, and transport facilities belonging to the other country.

The U.S. Senate has approved a crucial step to move forward a foreign aid package totaling $95 billion. The portion allocated for Ukraine is $61 billion, which will be used to replenish ammunition supplies, acquire weapons, and address other urgent needs as the country continues its defensive war against Russia for a third year.

Despite successfully passing a procedural obstacle, the measure’s future in the House, which is currently controlled by Republicans, remains uncertain.

Russia Starlink worries

According to Ukraine’s military intelligence, it has verified previous claims that Russian troops are utilizing the Starlink satellite communication system, developed by Elon Musk, for their battlefield communications. These satellite terminals were sent to Ukraine following the Russian invasion in 2022. As a result, certain areas in eastern Ukraine have been taken over by Russian military.

The GUR, also known as the Main Directorate of Intelligence for the Ukrainian defense ministry, has verified that the Russian forces are utilizing the system.

GUR reported that there have been instances of the Russian occupiers utilizing the mentioned devices, which is becoming a recurring issue, according to spokesperson Andriy Yusov’s statement.

The Russian defense ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment from Reuters.

The GUR reported intercepting communication between two Russian soldiers discussing the installation of terminals. It shared an alleged audio recording of the conversation on Telegram.

The GUR did not clarify the means by which Russian forces acquired the terminals.

On February 8, Starlink stated that their terminals were not functioning in Russia and that SpaceX had not sold or promoted their service in Russia or sent any equipment to Russian locations.

On X, Starlink released a statement that did not mention the potential use of their services in Ukraine’s occupied regions.

SpaceX will investigate and take action to deactivate a Starlink terminal if it is discovered that a sanctioned or unauthorized party is using it, according to the company.

The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters provided some of the information for this report.