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Stoltenberg: Ukraine to receive 1 million drones from allies in 2024

by Martin Fornusek and Teah Pelechaty and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 15, 2024 6:36 PM 2 min read
The display of hundreds of DJI Mavic 3T thermal copters that would later be deployed to strategic hotspots on the front lines. The drones were acquired through a collaborative effort by Monobank, Oleg Horokhovsky, and Igor Lachenkov for the Drone Army as part of Ukraine's state United24 initiative. (Army of Drones/Facebook)
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Allies are planning to join forces and supply Ukraine with a million drones this year, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Brussels on Feb. 15 following a NATO-Ukraine Council meeting, according to a Kyiv Independent reporter.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly emphasized the importance of unmanned systems in the war in Russia. In addition to foreign supplies, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine aims to also produce 1 million drones domestically in 2024.

"Today, we also met with Ukraine in the NATO-Ukraine Council. Defense Minister (Rustem) Umerov briefed allies on the latest developments on the ground, and we addressed the importance of our continued support," Stoltenberg said.

"A group of allies is coming together with the goal of delivering 1 million drones to Ukraine."

The secretary-general stressed that NATO allies account for 99% of all military aid to Ukraine.

"Our commitment is essential to preserving Ukraine's freedom," he said.

U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Feb. 15 that London is joining Latvia in leading the "drone coalition" that coordinates supplies for Ukraine. Shapps also pledged thousands more drones to Kyiv, namely first-person view unmanned aerial vehicles.

"I'm proud to announce that the U.K. and Latvia will co-lead an international coalition to build Ukraine's vital drone capabilities," Shapps said.

"Together, we will give Ukraine the capabilities it needs to defend itself and win this war, to ensure that Putin fails in his illegal and barbaric ambitions."

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree in February to create a new branch of Ukraine's Armed Forces specifically dedicated to drones.

The Unmanned Systems Forces will reportedly focus specifically on improving Ukraine's work with drones, creating special drone-specific units, ramping up training, systemizing their use, increasing production, and pushing innovation.

Zelensky said in January that one of the main goals for 2024 was outpacing Russia in the production of drones.

Minister: Ukraine to produce thousands of long-range drones in 2024
“The category of long-range kamikaze drones is growing, with a range of 300, 500, 700, and 1,000 kilometers. Two years ago, this category did not exist ... at all,” said Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov.
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