Ukrainian military and government officials say roughly half of Russian missiles and drones being fired at Ukrainian territory are being neutralized by air defenses, but reiterate the need for more defense systems.
Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Russian attacks continued Tuesday on energy facilities, with 33 missile strikes so far.
Ukraine's Air Force Command announced that the same number had been destroyed as of 1:30 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. ET), saying that 20 cruise missiles and 13 "kamikaze drones" were destroyed.
"In total, 33 aerial targets were destroyed by the forces and means of the Air Force," it said.
Air Force Command said Russians were using a mixture of cruise missiles — including 16 high-precision X-101/X-555 weapons fired from aircraft and 12 Kalibr-type sea-based cruise missiles — as well as Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones.
The Russians appear to have fired somewhat fewer missiles at Ukraine Tuesday than Monday, when the Ukrainians say 84 missiles were launched, 43 of which were shot down. In addition, the Ukrainians claim they shot down 26 Shahed drones on Monday.
The Ukrainian military said that on Tuesday the "bulk" of the Iranian-made attack drones were shot down.
Air Force Command spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said air defenses were mainly reliant on Soviet-era equipment such as the BUK M1 and S-300 missile systems.
"This equipment does not last forever, there may be losses in combat operations," he said, noting that "the manufacturer of this [equipment] is Russia, so we will have to say goodbye to them sooner or later."
A call for more military assistance: Ihnat repeated the appeal voiced by many Ukrainian officials for better air defense weapons, saying that "we need a lot, because the territory of Ukraine is very large. ... We have been promised modern air defense complexes for a long time." He said Germany has promised "one IRIS T battery, which is made specifically for Ukraine" and Norwegian partners "will supply two NASAMS batteries."
He also claimed that Russia had few high-precision missiles left, leading to more reliance on less accurate systems.