It only took 12 Ukrainians with drones to destroy $80 million of Russian military equipment

  • Ukrainian ex-businessmen and filmmakers make up an elite drone-fighting squad to battle Russia.

  • The team's leader estimated it has destroyed $80 million worth of Russian equipment, AP reported.

  • In the last week, Ukrainian drones hit a record 205 pieces of Russian military equipment.

A small group of Ukrainian ex-businessmen and filmmakers have been transformed into an elite drone-fighting squad delivering heavy blows to Russia on the battlefield in Ukraine, according to a report published by The Associated Press on Monday.

The leader of the 12-member drone team called the Asgard Group is a wealthy former businessman who goes by the wartime name Pharmacist, the AP reported.

Amid Ukraine's slow-moving counteroffensive against Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces, Pharmacist has been instructing his troops to target Moscow's extensive weaponry with affordable, small drones, and the method is proving effective.

Pharmacist estimated that his team — made up of former engineers, corporate managers, and cinematographers and assembled with $700,000 — has already destroyed $80 million worth of Russian military equipment using Ukrainian drones, according to the AP.

Exploding drones, Pharmacist explained, are much cheaper to make than conventional munitions.

Thanks to effective strategies like those carried out by battlefield leaders like Pharmacist, the Ukrainian government is looking to beef up its drone-fighting capabilities with a $1 billion cash infusion, according to the AP.

Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov said that the Eastern European country is dedicated to building up a cutting-edge "army of drones," reported the AP. The AP reported that Ukraine has already trained more than 10,000 new drone pilots this year.

"A new stage of the war will soon begin," Fedorov said.

The Ukrainian government official added, "We are doing everything for businesses to invest in the production of various drones," according to the AP.

Meanwhile, Fedorov said in a tweet on Monday that Ukraine's "army of drones" hit a record 205 pieces of Russian military equipment between September 18 and Monday alone as Russia's invasion of Ukraine rages on.

"Our soldiers keep moving forward & Russians keep losing their equipment," Fedorov said.

According to data Fedorov shared, Ukraine's drone fleet destroyed 64 Russian cannons, 27 tanks, 55 trucks, and 38 armored combat vehicles last week alone.

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