War in Ukraine: Drone attacks being intercepted by Ukrainian air defence as MP warns thousands of children being deported to Russia for adoption

Up to 85 per cent of drone attacks on Ukraine are being intercepted, authorities have claimed, as a Ukrainian politician revealed almost 9,000 children have been deported to Russia for adoption.

Lesia Vasylenko warned 8,709 children from occupied regions of Ukraine have been deported to Russia, where they are likely to have been put up for adoption by Russian families.

Ms Vasylenko said: “[A total of] 8,709 Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia and likely put up for adoption or into foster homes.”

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Russian officials have previously said as many as 2.8 million Ukrainian citizens, including more than 440,000 children, had been transported to the Russian Federation from Ukraine. They claim they have gone willingly, for protection, or to start a new life in Russia. While some of the children are with their families, others are alone – and are being homed in orphanages or sanitoriums before being placed with adoptive or foster families.

A Ukrainian soldier walks past a destroyed tank near Borivske, Kharkiv region .

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Ukrainian air defence was finding it easy to intercept attack drones from Russia, due to them being “noisy and slow”.

This comes as a row continues to escalate over claims of potential use of a “dirty bomb”. Ukraine has denied Russian claims it plans to use a weapon laced with radioactive material, saying it believed Russia could be planning an attack of this kind as a “false flag”.

UK defence chief, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, spoke with his Russian counterpart on Monday at the request of the Russian Ministry of Defence, to reject allegations that Ukraine is planning actions to escalate the conflict. The MoD said the military leaders both agreed on the importance of maintaining open channels of communication between the UK and Russia to manage the risk of miscalculation and to facilitate de-escalation.

The conversation came a day after UK defence secretary Ben Wallace spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, who alleged Western countries were colluding with Ukraine over a potential attack.

Ukraine president Volodymr Zelensky accused Russia of being "the source of everything dirty that can be imagined in this war".

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In a message to the Israeli government asking for support, Mr Zelensky said the “vile sound” of Iranian drones is “heard in our skies every night”.

He said: "Unfortunately, we do not have our own "Iron Dome". We still do not have a modern and effective air defence and missile defence system that could secure our skies. ”

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In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of France, the UK and the US said their governments "all reject Russia's transparently false allegations that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on its own territory", stressing they would continue supporting Ukraine in "the face of President [Vladimir] Putin's brutal war of aggression".

In its daily statement on the situation in Ukraine, the MoD said Ukrainian efforts to defeat the Shahed-136 drones, widely believed to have been supplied to Russia by Iran, were “increasingly successful”.

The ministry said: “Ukrainian efforts to defeat the Shahed-136 UAVs are increasingly successful.

“These UAVs are slow, noisy and fly at low altitudes, making lone aircraft easy to target conventional air defences. It is likely using them as a substitute for Russian-manufactured long-range precision weapons, which are becoming increasingly scarce.”

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