But analysts speculate that the main reason for Russia using them now to attack cities like Kyiv is that the fighting has gone on for much longer than Russia or Putin ever anticipated, and as Russia’s inventory of cruise missiles declines, it has purchased unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran to conduct kamikaze attacks on strategic targets and destroy Ukrainian infrastructure.
"As the war lasted longer than the two weeks initially planned, Russia's cruise missile stockpiles started to dwindle, and the cost of the war increased dramatically," Samuel Bendett, a research analyst with the Center for Naval Analyses, where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program, told this magazine. “That’s when we started seeing more loitering drones being used by the Russian military."
Iran has denied selling drones to Russia, but photos circulating on social media appear to confirm that Russia has used Iranian-made Shahid 136 suicide drones in attacks on Ukrainian cities. These are thought to be the same drones reportedly used by Houthi rebels to carry out attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia in 2019.
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