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Minister: Crowdfunded sea drone fleet strikes 8 Russian targets in first year of operation

by Elsa Court November 11, 2023 11:55 PM 2 min read
A screenshot of the UNITED24 video about crowdfunded naval drones, shared by Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov on Nov. 11, 2023. (Mykhailo Fedorov / Telegram)
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A fleet of Ukrainian naval drones, launched as a result of an international crowdfunding campaign, has struck eight key Russian targets in the first year of its operation, Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said on Facebook on Nov. 11.

The drone fleet was launched through the United24 fundraising platform, which has so far raised Hr 500 million ($13.9 million) for 50 sea drones.

The first strikes were in October 2022, when sea drones attacked the ships Admiral Makarov and Ivan Golubets, according to the video Fedorov posted to social media.

Two more ships were hit in the spring and summer of 2023, and the sea drones were used to attack an offshore oil rig in the Black Sea in August.

One of the crowdfunded drones then attacked the patrol ship Sergey Kotov in September.

Most recently, the drones were used in a strike on Nov. 10 that sunk two Russian high-speed landing crafts stationed in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Funds for the first drone were raised within two hours, and was named Kherson, after the city that was liberated from Russian occupation on Nov. 11, 2022.

Donations of $250,000 or more allows the donor to chose the name of the drone, which is the case for 20 of the drones in the fleet.

The use of a naval drone fleet "is a unique development that changes the doctrine of warfare at sea and makes the Russians fear for their ships," Fedorov said.

Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said in August that Russian forces on average manage to destroy 60-70% of Ukrainian kamikaze drone boats before they reach their target.

Russia faces "serious problems" with the 30% of sea drones that its forces do not manage to destroy, as the weapons are "very effective."

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