US hardware is helping Ukraine fend off increasingly heavy Russian missile and drone strikes
Kharkiv, Ukraine — Russia launched some of its heaviest targeted airstrikes to dateThe capital and other major cities overnight and into Monday morning. Videos posted online showed children and adults running to emergency shelters as air raid sirens wailed in Kiev.
The head of Ukraine’s armed forces said in a social media post that “up to 40 rockets” and “around 35 drones” had been fired, virtually all of which were shot down by the country’s air defenses. Rescuers extinguished flaming missile debris that fell on a street in northern Kiev, and Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said shrapnel falling in another district set a building on fire, killing at least one person and injuring another.
Searchlights combed the night sky over Kiev, looking for exploding drones before they could crash into the ground. It was the second night in a row that swarms of Iranian-made planes swooped across the capital’s skies.
Video captured the moment one of them was shot down near the northern city of Chernihiv. This city is only about 20 miles from the border with Belarus, an autocratic country whose dictator Vladimir Putin has used his territory to attack Ukraine since the all-out invasion began in February 2022.
Kiev claimed that 58 of a staggering 59 drones launched overnight were shot down. This success is due not only to the high-tech air defense systems deployed almost every night, but also to the Ukrainians’ use of some good, old-fashioned technology.
At an undisclosed military location, we watched Ukrainian forces test powerful new searchlights that help them locate these low-tech drones in the sky so they can be attacked from the ground.
But the other, deadlier threats flying towards Ukraine require more advanced defenses. TheSystems this spring have allowed the Ukrainians to intercept more powerful Russian missiles.
Oleksandr Ruvin, Kiev’s chief forensic investigator, showed us the remains of a Russian “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile. The Kremlin had boasted that the weapon’s speed and maneuverability made it unstoppable, even untouchable.
“Thanks to our American partners, we can actually touch this missile,” Ruvin told CBS News.
It now lies in a growing graveyard of destroyed Russian munitions along with the remains of other advanced ballistic missiles – evidence of the extensive war crimes dossier Ruvin helped compile.
He told CBS News that Ukraine is preparing for itRussia appears to be targeting its country’s air defense network, and these attacks have become more frequent.
Not all Russian missiles are being stopped, and another of its hypersonic missiles, an Iskander, slipped through the net early Monday and struck an apartment building in Kharkiv, according to the region’s governor. Governor Oleh Synehubov said six people were injured in the strike, including two children and a pregnant woman, and he posted video of the damaged building online.