The fact that the smaller kamikaze drones used by Russia are much cheaper than the Ukrainian air defense missiles used against them is creating problems for Kiev and its Western backers, the New York Times has acknowledged.
In an article on Tuesday, the paper didn’t question Kiev’s claims that most of the UAVs launched by Russia are being shot down, but pointed out that even in this case Ukrainian air defense stocks were being exhausted.
“How long can Ukraine sustain its effort when many of its defensive measures cost far more than the drones do?” the NYT wondered.
In addition to trying to destroy the incoming drones with anti-aircraft guns and small-arms fire, Kiev’s forces have “also relied heavily on missiles fired from warplanes and the ground,” which are very expensive, it wrote.
The paper cited the head of the Ukrainian consultancy Molfar, Artem Starosiek, who claimed that using a missile against a UAV costs up to seven times more than the drone itself. The drones that Russia uses are priced at around $20,000 per unit, while a surface-to-air missile from Ukraine’s arsenal ranges from $140,000 for a Soviet-era S-300 to $500,000 for a US-supplied NASAM system, he said.