Last week in a piece for Newsweek I told them that the drone Iran is sending to Russia are not very effective weapons in spite of the fact that they are being used against relatively undefended civilian targets instead of military targets. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are claiming that they have shot down 85% of the Iranian drones sent against them, mostly the Shahid-136 type with a delta wing and a propeller-driven engine.

As I told Newsweek, these drones are not very effective looking at the number of attacks versus the number of casualties they have inflicted on Ukrainian civilians, but that may not matter to the Russians.

They are using these drones as a means of terrorizing the civilian population in an attempt to break their will, which is not going to be easy.

Ukraine is fighting for its existence not just as a country but as a culture and a people. They have powerful allies in the West providing them with training, weapons, and support.  They enjoy the support of most of the world in beating back the invader. They have effective leadership in their government which does not needlessly waste their lives in battle.  Finally, they are winning on the ground and pushing Russian troops back, or encircling them and forcing them to surrender.

It’s very hard to break the will of a people who have all of that going for them.

On the reverse side of things, it is also very hard for this war to break the will of the Russian people but for different reasons.  The will of the Russian people is not expressed in its government. They have no say in the affairs of their government nationally, opposition is brutally suppressed with beatings, jail time, and even the outright murder of those opposed to Putin and his policies. They are simply dragged along behind whatever their government wants to do.

There is passive resistance to the war that is reflected in the fact that Russian men are not lining up at the recruiting offices to volunteer to fight. In fact, tens of thousands have fled Russia or are hiding out within its vast expanse to avoid being drafted. This is why in the occupied regions of Ukraine that Russia claimed they were saving from oppression coming from Kyiv, they have declared martial law, effectively making them vast prison camps for the populations there.  People are being forcibly evacuated, a dusk-to-dawn curfew is in effect, all travel is restricted and by permission, and Russia is rounding up military-aged males to serve in the army.

These mass drone attacks on civilians will come and go as Russia expends its stocks and waits for new inventory to arrive from Iran. Ukraine will have a difficult time defending its cities and infrastructure from these attacks. It would take thousands of troops with anti-aircraft guns to ring its cities with defenses.  These guns have to be stationed outside of the cities at some distance because they too are dangerous to civilians on the ground. What goes up as a 20mm or 30mm cannon round then comes down as several pounds of very hot metal that will kill civilians on the ground cause, collateral damage to structures, and even start fires.