Ukrainian officials say six Russian ‘balloons’ flying over Kyiv, most shot down

Six Russian balloons were flying over Kyiv and the Ukrainian air defenses shot down most of them, the military administration of Ukraine’s capital said on Wednesday, according to state-run Ukrinform news agency.

Kyiv’s military administration said in its statement: “According to information that is now being verified, those were balloons that move in the air under the propulsion of wind,” adding that the balloons could have been carrying “corner reflectors and certain reconnaissance equipment.”

It added that officials suspect the balloons were meant to “detect and exhaust” Ukraine’s anti-aircraft defense. However, a final assessment of the type and characteristics of the balloons will be made after a thorough analysis of the debris of the downed balloons.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said: “Reconnaissance drones are now being deployed more sparingly [by Russia’s military], and they thought ‘Why don’t we use these balloons?’ So they are using them,” according to Ukrainian media.

Russia did not immediately comment on the Ukrainian report of the balloons over Kyiv.

This incident comes a few days after the US shot down three officially unidentified objects between February 10 and 12.

Reports of suspected “surveillance balloons” have dominated headlines over the past two weeks after US fighter jets shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina’s coast on February 4.

The balloon had spent a week flying over the US before President Joe Biden ordered it be downed. Beijing denies that it was a government spy tool.

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