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Ukraine has trained an army of 10,000 drone pilots ahead of anticipated counteroffensive, minister says

A Ukrainian soldier launching a droneUkrainian servicemen fly a drone on the outskirts of Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine on December 30, 2022.

Sameer Al-Doumy/Getty Images

  • Ukraine said it had trained 10,000 drone pilots.
  • Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said the “Army of Drones” initiative had raised $325 million.
  • Ukraine is expected to launch its anticipated counteroffensive to retake land occupied by Russia.

Ukraine said it had trained 10,000 drone pilots and raised hundreds of millions of dollars for drones ahead of the long-anticipated spring counteroffensive to retake territory occupied by Russia.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and minister for innovation, said on Thursday that the pilots had been trained as part of the Army of Drones project, which is part of the fundraising platform Unite d24.

“We have recently completed the first part of the UAV pilot training project; 10,000 pilots have been trained during this time,” Fedorov said. 

“That is, the Drone Army is about the comprehensive development of the UAV sector, both from the point of view of production and from the point of view of their use.”

He said that the crowdfunding initiative had raised $325 million, with donations coming in from 110 countries around the world.

The project plans to launch 60 companies to produce attack drones, he added.

Drones have played a key role in the conflict, with both sides using them for reconnaissance and to drop bombs or grenades. Both sides have also used longer-range drones to strike targets deeper into each other’s territories. 

Russia this week accused Ukraine of being behind an alleged drone attack on the Kremlin, which Ukraine has denied. Some experts have accused Russia of staging a false-flag attack.

Ukrainian officials have previously noted that drones will be critical in the efforts to take back territory occupied by Russia.

“We will win faster and with fewer losses if we have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of reconnaissance and combat drones,” Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, previously told Newsweek.

 “We need combat aviation which has been discussed a lot recently. And also, as I say often — this war is a war of drones, they are the super weapon here.”

Read the original article on Business Insider