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Russian children are to undergo training to learn how to operate combat drones, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported in its July 24 intelligence update.
British intelligence cites Artem Sheikin, a Russian senator, who announced that the curriculum will include lessons in terrain reconnaissance and countering Ukrainian drones.
The move highlights how Russia considers the use of drones "an enduring component of contemporary war."
The training will be part of the "Basics of Life Safety" course. From Sept. 1, 2023, high school students will be taught how to operate an assault rifle, hand grenade skills and combat first aid, as well as the training on drones, as part of the syllabus.
"Russia’s renewed emphasis on military induction for children is largely an effort to cultivate a culture of militarized patriotism rather than develop genuine capability," according to the report.
In November 2022, Russia announced that military training will return to Russian schools in the 2023 academic year. The Soviet-era initiative ended in 1993.
British intelligence stated that the program will mimic Soviet mandatory military training for schoolchildren, which “included contingencies for a chemical or nuclear attack, first aid and experience handling and firing Kalashnikov rifles.” The move is thought to be an attempt to improve the quality of conscripts.