Russian Spy Balloons Shot Down Over Ukraine, Kyiv Claims

Half a dozen Russia-launched spy balloons were detected and shot down by the air defense systems over the Ukrainian capital, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military claimed during a televised appearance on Wednesday.

Ukrainian authorities said that the downed balloons – believed to have been used by Moscow- were launched to detect and exhaust Ukraine’s air defense forces and could have been carrying reconnaissance equipment, corner reflectors, and other intelligence equipment.

In an announcement on their Telegram channel, Kyiv city officials also said that a final determination of the intended use of the balloons, which appear to have been propelled by the wind, would be made after a study of the debris.

According to Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat, Moscow is using balloons to exhaust anti-aircraft missiles, stressing that Russians will use all available methods of warfare to achieve their goals.

Therefore, he emphasized the importance of seeing what they are and understanding them, adding that authorities would carefully examine the debris of the balloons whose presence in the sky earlier on Wednesday prompted Kyiv’s sirens to go off, which usually happens when missiles are approaching.

Shortly after the air raid sirens were triggered throughout the Kyiv region after unidentified flying objects were detected above the city, several explosions could be heard across the capital with the city officials claiming later that several targets air which defense systems detected in the air were shot down.

According to Ignat, the balloons, which were detected flying above the Ukrainian capital, may have been equipped with reconnaissance equipment meant to identify and exhaust Kyiv’s air defense systems.

He told a Ukrainian TV channel that the balloons may be a new tactic deployed by Moscow to preserve its stocks of reconnaissance drones like the Orlan-10, which are now being used more sparingly.

Moscow has so far avoided commenting on the reports of spy balloons and accusations by Kyiv.

Only a day before, Moldova and Romania – both of which border Ukraine – reported mysterious weather balloon-like objects traversing their skies that triggered widespread travel disruption and brief panic in Moldova prompting the authorities to temporarily close the country’s airspace.

However, the two jets – that are under NATO command- that Romania’s defense ministry deployed afterward returned to base without spotting anything.