The South Korean military apologized Tuesday for failing to shoot down five North Korean drones that crossed their common border, after facing strong criticism for their lack of alacrity.

The raid on Monday prompted Seoul to fire warning shots and deploy fighter jets and helicopters to shoot down the drones, one of which landed near the capital.

“Yesterday, five enemy drones invaded South Korean airspace and our military detected and tracked them, but we apologize for not being able to shoot them down,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The drones apparently managed to return to the North despite the five-hour operation to hunt them down.

The military acknowledged that it can deal with “attack drones that present a real threat” but that its capability is limited against smaller spy drones.

“As a result, the lack of military readiness caused a lot of public concern,” he added.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol told a cabinet meeting that military readiness was “greatly lacking.”

Yoon ordered a plan to launch a drone unit to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance tasks at North Korean military installations be accelerated. The plan includes advanced stealth drones.

It marked the first time in years that North Korean drones had entered southern airspace, following a recent wave of weapons tests by Pyongyang.

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