Ukrainian troops celebrate as they shoot down Russian drone and flip the bird as it falls from sky

Armed forces officials say a British Starstreak missile struck down the Russian Orion drone

Emily Atkinson
Monday 11 April 2022 16:02 BST
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General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine/ The Independent
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A video has emerged showing Ukrainian troops cheering and celebrating after shooting down a Russian drone using a UK-made missile.

The footage shows a soldier firing the high velocity Starstreak missile – which can travel at speeds of up to Mach 4 – at the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine.

The downing of the drone was met with triumphant cheers from the Ukrainian troops present.

A Ukrainian solider rushes to the side of his fellow serviceman after he successfully took down a Russian drone amid cheers
A Ukrainian solider rushes to the side of his fellow serviceman after he successfully took down a Russian drone amid cheers (General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine/ The Independent )

Yuriy Kochevenko, the Ukrainian solider who shared the video online, thanked the UK for supplying the missile system, built by Thales at their plant in Belfast, adding that his fellow servicemen use the “support of allies effectively.”

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At one point, a soldier could be seen flashing his middle finger at the wreckage of the Russian drone as it fell from the sky.

The drone was shot down by members of the 95th Air Assault Brigade on 9 April, Ukrainian armed forces chiefs said.

“Successful combat use of Starstreak man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) in the Ukrainian-Russian war,” Mr Kochevenko added

The soldier wielding the British-made missile system is met with congratulation
The soldier wielding the British-made missile system is met with congratulation (General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine/ The Independent )

“Air defence destroyed the Russian UAV Orlan. This is the greeting of Ukrainian paratroopers to Boris Johnson.

“Thank you Britain. We use the support of allies effectively, send more of it. For our freedom and yours!”

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, who later shared the video to their official Facebook page, added: “In the Kharkiv region, an air defence unit of a separate airborne assault brigade with British-made MANPADS “Starstreak” successfully destroyed another Russian UAV “Orlan-10”, according to the public relations service of the Command of the Airborne Assault Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

Elsewhere, rescuers search for bodies under the rubble of a building destroyed by Russian shelling in Borodyanka, Kyiv region
Elsewhere, rescuers search for bodies under the rubble of a building destroyed by Russian shelling in Borodyanka, Kyiv region (REUTERS)

It claims this is the first time this type of Russian drone has been taken down by Ukrainian forces, the second having been shot down a day later.

It added: “The video shows the first combat use of the Starstreak MANPADS in combat conditions by a unit of the Assault Troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

It comes just three days after prime minister Boris Johnson announced the UK would provide a further package of military aid to Ukraine.

A man stands on a destroyed Russian tanks in the Buzova village of Kyiv
A man stands on a destroyed Russian tanks in the Buzova village of Kyiv (EPA)

In addition to sending more Starstreak air defence systems, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the new support will include:

  • More than 800 more NLAW anti-tank missiles
  • Additional Javelin anti-tank systems
  • Additional loitering munitions
  • Additional non-lethal aid including ballistic helmets, body armour and night vision goggles

Mr Johnson said: “Putin has steeled our resolve, sharpened our focus and forced Europe to begin to rearm to guarantee our shared security.

This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Press Association Images)

“Alongside our allies, this military support will bolster Ukraine’s efforts to ensure Russia’s barbaric invasion fails.”

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said: “The UK Government is resolute in our support for Ukraine and determined that no barbaric Russian act goes unanswered.

“Another 800 NLAWs will not only support the Ukrainian defence, but show Putin that his brutality only stiffens our resolve.”

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