Welsh MP raises $56K for Ukraine rescue drones for victims of the Russian invasion

Ukrainian drone Russian invasion

A member of Wales’ national legislature has raised over $56,000 in donations for the purchase of specialized drones to be used by Ukrainian medics trying to locate and treat people injured amid the Russian invasion of the country.

Mick Antoniw, a second-generation Ukrainian representing Pontypridd in Wales’ Senadd launched his funding appeal hoping to raise $6,500 for the acquisition of the UAVs and wound up taking in over eight times that amount. In coordination with the Ukraine Embassy in London, Antoniw has handed that money over for the purchase of Parrot ANAFI drones that rescue and medical teams will use to locate people trapped or injured the Russian invasion.

“The drones will allow medics to identify the injured and fatalities in the rubble and chaos resulting from Russian attacks on civilian buildings,” Antoniw told GTM radio. “The request for the specialist drones has come directly from the Ukrainian Embassy in London.”

The Parrot drones are already being urgently transported to Ukraine to locate victims trapped in structures damaged in the Russian onslaught. Although the exact model wasn’t specified, information given about the craft suggests they are ANAFI USA UAVs, which feature 4K/FHD/HD video resolution, 32X zoom, a vertical camera, and ultra sonar and thermal imaging sensors. They are also built to withstand cold of down to -40 Celsius, winds of 15 m/s, and fly up to 32 minutes on a single charge. 

When it was released in 2020, the ANAFI USA was touted as an ideal aerial asset for first responder and emergency services deployment. Its beefed-up internal security may also come in useful for Ukrainian operators if invading Russian forces seek to include drone jamming or other tech to incapacitate army, militia, or humanitarian use of small craft.

Antoniw said he was overwhelmed by the response from private citizens, businesses, and trade unions that answered his appeal with donations. He said that generosity would be critical in assisting Ukrainians trapped, cut off, or injured by Russian attacks.

“It means that the fund is able to provide further urgent help to medics in addition to the supply of medical equipment to help deal with battlefield trauma,” he said. “The drones are specifically designed for use in conflict zones and use the latest thermal and video imaging technology. They will undoubtedly help to save many, many lives.”

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