- A Ukrainian intelligence unit has appealed for funds to buy up to 1,000 exploding drones.
- The unit said it’s creating a strike force of first-person-view drones to use as “snipers.”
- Both Ukrainian and Russian forces have made extensive use of drones in the conflict.
Ukraine is raising funds to create a strike force of drones, its defense ministry said on Friday.
The Kryla, part of Ukraine’s military-intelligence service, wants a fleet of 1,000 so-called first-person-view drones to help defend its front line against Russian forces.
The defense ministry said such drones could collect intelligence and essentially function as snipers from a distance of about 6 miles.
Funds are being raised through the “Starlife-Charity” foundation, which has helped Ukrainian forces since Russia invaded in February.
The defense ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
In May, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov announced the start of a new fundraising project called United24, saying the donations would go toward costs incurred by fighting Russia.
Fedorov announced last summer that he hoped to amass an “army of drones” to help repel Putin’s forces.
Donations helped buy more than 1,400 drones, according to United24’s website.
Both Ukrainian and Russian forces have made extensive use of drones in the fighting, with Iranian-made Shahed-136 exploding drones responsible for much of Russia’s bombardment of civilian areas and energy infrastructure.
In November, Ukraine pleaded with the US for more powerful drones and anti-drone missiles that cost about $10 million each, Reuters reported.
The Biden administration has announced almost $30 billion in military aid to Ukraine, according to the State Department.
Ukraine’s National Guard issued a video in late December showing what appear to be the last moments of several exploding drones as they hit Russian armored vehicles in a devastating attack.
Ukraine said on January 16 that it used a drone to steal a dead Russian fighter’s radio in December, allowing Ukraine to listen in on the enemy’s plans for several days.
Correction: January 23, 2023 — An earlier version of this story misspelled Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s surname. It also included an outdated figure for the amount of military aid the US has promised Ukraine. The latest announced total is nearly $30 billion during the Biden administration, not nearly $20 billion since the war started.