high velocity | 

Ukrainian soldiers celebrate downing Russian drone using missile built in Belfast

The footage shows a soldier firing the high velocity Starstreak missile at the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the Kharkiv region

Emily Atkinson

A video has emerged showing Ukrainian troops cheering and celebrating after shooting down their first Russian drone using a Belfast-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.

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 east Belfast, adding that his fellow servicemen use the “support of allies effectively”.

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 April 9, Ukrainian armed forces chiefs said.

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

“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.”

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.

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

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