Ukrainian military to have dedicated drone branch

Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Volodymyr Zelenskyy

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has ordered the Ukrainian Armed Forces to establish a separate branch dedicated to UAVs, the president said in his Feb. 6 evening address.

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Zelenskyy instructed the Cabinet, in collaboration with the General Staff, to work out the details of establishing the drone force within the structure of the AFU.

“Unmanned systems—drones—have proven their effectiveness [in combat] on land, in the air, and at sea,” said Zelenskyy.

“Ukraine has significantly shifted the balance of force in the Black Sea thanks to drones. The repelling of assaults on the ground is largely the work of drones. The large-scale destruction of enemy troops and their equipment is also due to drones.”

He added that it is now necessary to establish dedicated units for operating UAVs in battle and organize effective training and systematize experience sharing, as well as scale up drone production and attract the best engineers to the industry.

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Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov wrote on Telegram that the decision "will serve as a powerful impetus for the technological and innovative development of the Armed Forces." He said that combat drone companies at the brigade level were established a year ago, and drones have dramatically changed the situation on the battlefield. Fedorov also noted that Ukraine's first naval drones "completely changed the rules of waging war at sea."

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“With the Brave1 [UAV development] cluster, we are actively working on the development of ground drones that can partially replace gunners or make their jobs safer, advance into attacks, evacuate the wounded, or deliver ammunition to the frontline,” the minister said.

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On Feb. 1, amid rumors of the impending dismissal of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, CNN published his article discussing changes in the approach to conducting war and the main tasks for the Ukrainian military in 2024. In the article, Zaluzhnyi emphasized that the development of unmanned weapon systems is a driving force in the war, and that drones, along with other types of modern armaments, present the best way to break the stalemate on the battlefield.

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