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Russia Deploys 3,800 Iranian-Made Kamikaze Drones to Murder Ukrainian Civilians in 'Targeted Terror'

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ODESA, Ukraine – It was midnight on March 2nd when it happened. 

Odesa resident Sergei Gaidarzhi recounts his harrowing ordeal.

"Anna and Timofey were in our bedroom. I was in the other room with our daughter Lisa. I usually go to her room to try and help her fall asleep. I feel asleep too with her that night," he recalls.
An hour later, Russia launched 8 kamikaze drones from Crimea targeting the Ukrainian port city.

"At about 1:17 a.m. I heard a sound, a sharp sound, like a drone and then a sharp explosion," Sergei says.

While Ukrainian air defenses intercepted seven drones, the eighth struck Anna and Sergei's nine-story apartment.

"Everything was on fire. I woke up quickly and got up, took my daughter in my arms and wrapped her in a blanket. I ran out of the room to make sure that my wife and son were safe. I saw that the door to our bedroom was open and suddenly I noticed that the bedroom was gone, there was just an abyss and a mountain of garbage below."

Search and rescue teams arrived within minutes of the attack. 

"I was in shock. What kind of scary dream was that? Maybe it was a dream, I thought. But it was real," Sergei says.

After 12 hours, firefighters found the bodies of Anna and their four-month-old Timofey in the basement of the apartment.

"The structures of the seven floors came down on them, pinning them down completely. During the explosion, the bed flipped over and the mattress and blanket covered them. It's a good thing that happened. Their bodies survived; they weren't blown apart. That was important to me. The forensics later found out that they died in their sleep next to each other." 

It was an Iranian drone known as the Shahed-136 that brought down Anna and Sergei's home. Earlier this month, hundreds of emails and thousands of documents revealed that since the war here in Ukraine began more than two years ago, the Russians have purchased more than 6,000 of these Iranian drones.

"Military specialists told me the Shahed drone was programmed from start to finish, from the point of takeoff to the point of impact. It was programmed to fly right here. A total of 12 people were killed in our apartment. This is targeted terror."

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According to Ukraine's air force, Russia has launched almost 3,800 Shahed drones over the last two years, attacking civilian targets and infrastructure like power plants.

"The Russian army purposefully killed my wife and my little baby. Iran is to blame too. Those who take the weapons and kill are to blame. And those who sell those weapons are also to blame," Sergei says.

In February, hackers obtained thousands of internal documents from a company reportedly linked to Iran's defense ministry that revealed extensive technical help Tehran is providing Moscow to manufacture these Shahed drones.

The Washington Post uncovered an industrial hub last August hundreds of miles east of Moscow where thousands of drones have been assembled.

A few days ago, Russian media showed video from reportedly inside that plant with dozens of Shahed drones on display.

Ukrainian intelligence believes Hezbollah and members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard are also teaching Russians how to operate the drones.

"Anna was a sunshine person for all of us. She enjoyed life. She loved the world. She loved God," Sergei says.

CBN News was there last week as hundreds of Christians came to this church in Odesa to pay their last respects to Anna and Timofey. 

Anna's father is a well-known pastor in the city.

"God gave us life, and we rejoiced in it. We praised God, we served in church. She was very active in the church's ministry," Sergei says.

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Ukraine's President Zelenskyy also laid flowers near their destroyed apartment building and mentioned the sadness he felt of Timofey's passing in a tweet. 
"First of all, I have no anger towards the Russians. There is no aggression and no desire for revenge. Second, I have no anger towards God. I don't have any questions. Of course, humanly speaking, it is very hard to accept this. But God, almost on this day of the funeral, when we were waiting for a miracle, He sent peace into my heart," Sergei says.


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About The Author

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Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and of Indian descent, CBN News’ Senior International Correspondent and Co-Anchor, George Thomas, has been traveling the globe for more than 20 years, finding the stories of people, conflicts, and issues that must be told. He has reported from more than 100 countries and has had a front-row seat to numerous global events of our day. George’s stories of faith, struggle, and hope combine the expertise of a seasoned journalist with the inspiration of a deep calling to tell the stories of the people behind the news. “I’ve always liked discovering & exploring new