Ukraine is upping its efforts to beat back Russia’s invasion by using both military-grade and consumer UAVs with a slick new post on social media designed to inspire worldwide backers to donate generously and often to the nation’s Army of Drones campaign.
The eye-opening post was uploaded this week by Mykhailo Fedorov, the vice prime minister of Ukraine and minister of digital transformation of Ukraine and who may soon rival President Volodymyr Zelensky for the nation’s title of savviest online communicator. In it, Fedorov solicits additional donations to the Army of Drones initiative, which provides Ukraine forces aerial assets against Russian invaders, and makes his appeal with computer-generated images showing just how many UAVs have been put aloft thus far by contributions.
The result is a simulated swarm of drones Fedorov asks backers to make even thicker and longer still.
The computer-generated images of the 472 UAVs bought and deployed under Ukraine’s Army of Drones campaign proved so impressive and, to some, realistic looking that a few commentators questioned the wisdom of risking collision by flying so many badly needed craft so close to one another. Most, however, got the CGI gist and cheered those visual results by calling on like-minded readers to donate more to the cause.
The clip was one of several moves by Ukraine in what’s proving to be an effective and sophisticated communications offensive. Earlier, officials provided Ukraine news site Ukrinform.net with figures, offering an idea of comparative losses suffered in the nation’s defense against Russia’s unprovoked invasion.
In terms of equipment, the site noted, between February 24 and August 23, total Russian assets lost include “1,921 tanks (+2 over the past day), 4,238 armored fighting vehicles (+8), 1,033 artillery systems (+1), 266 multiple launch rocket systems, 146 anti-aircraft warfare systems (+1), 234 aircrafts, 198 helicopters, 3,150 motor vehicles and fuel tanks (+1), 15 warships/boats, 817 unmanned aerial vehicles (+2), 99 special equipment units… (and) a total of 196 enemy cruise missiles (+2).”
In human terms, officials told Ukrinform that Ukraine had lost “nearly 9,000 Ukrainian military personnel” during the conflict, compared to “about 45,400 Russian soldiers.”
In a separate interview with the site, Fedorov said among the total craft bought by Ukraine from Army of Drones donations were 100 large UAVs capable of extended flights to hit remote targets and support frontline fighters.
More aerial vehicles, both large and small, are on the way, Fedorov said, but he urged donors to provide Ukraine with the even larger number it needs to defend itself – as well as the means of maintaining and repairing craft it already has.
“No matter how many of them are destroyed by the enemy, we must ensure the possibility of their operational restoration,” Fedorov said. “To do this, we are constantly looking for opportunities to buy these drones, repair old ones, open hubs for their restoration and, of course, train pilots on an ongoing basis. So far, it has been possible to collect about [$23 million] for the purchase of new UAVs.”