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Deputy commander: Drone deliveries to front line this year already 3 times higher than in 2023

by Alexander Khrebet April 13, 2024 11:32 PM 2 min read
An operator carries a reusable airstrike drone called Punisher made by the Ukrainian company UA Dynamics during a test in Kyiv Oblast on Aug. 11, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)
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Drone deliveries to the front lines in Ukraine since the start of 2024 are already three times higher than for all of last year, according to the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Vadym Sukharevskyi.

“Since the start of 2024, we have supplied almost three times more drones than in the entire previous year. This process continues... and will only grow,” Sukharevskyi told a ceremony commemorating the new “Weapon of Victory. Made in UA” postage stamp on April 13.

Sukharevskyi didn't specify the exact number of drones delivered so far this year.

Unmanned systems have become a key capability for both sides of Russia's war, as Kyiv intensified domestic drones production and imports.

In late February, Sukharevskyi said Ukraine's goal for 2024 is to meet Russian forces on the battlefield with drones. The Ukrainian military is not abandoning old systems, but rather looking for solutions to strengthen its existing capabilities, according to Sukharevskyi.

Almost every drone supplied is domestically produced, said Sukharevskyi, a high-ranking Ukrainian military official responsible for development and use of unmanned systems in the military.

Digital Transformations Minister Mykhailo Fedorov earlier said that Ukraine will achieve its goal of producing 1 million drones per year in 2024.

Sukharevsky also announced that maritime drones that have Ukraine has used to attack Russian naval targets in the Black Sea will be deployed to the Azov Sea "in the near future."

Ukraine's "Sea Baby" maritime drones have been used in multiple attacks on Russia's Black Sea Fleet since last year.

He also said Ukraine's ability to launch drones capable of reaching 1,200 kilometers inside Russia is “not the limit.”

“And believe me, today and even yesterday, 1,200 kilometers is not the limit,” the colonel said.

Ukrainian forces have launched a series of drone strikes aimed at damaging Russia's oil industry and productions facilities.

Ukraine on March 2 attacked drone production facilities and an oil refinery in the cities of Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk in Russia's Tatarstan Republic, some 1,300 kilometers from the country's border. It was the first Ukrainian attack on this Russian region since the start of the full-scale invasion.  

A total of 12 Russian oil refineries were reportedly successfully hit in multiple regions deep inside Russian territory as of March 17.

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree in February creating a separate branch of Ukraine's Armed Forces dedicated to drones.

Strategic Industries Deputy Minister Hanna Hvozdiar said that Ukraine has the capacity to produce 150,000 drones every month and may be able to produce 2 million drones by the end of the year.

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