Turret of a Russian tank near Robotyne is sent flying by a drone strike
Ukraine is using drones costing just £330 each to destroy Russian military vehicles worth £1.65million – with one soldier saying: “It’s hard to handle the emotion when a drone pilot hits a tank.”
Twenty months after Vladimir Putin ordered his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the war grinds on, with Ukrainian and Russian troops locked in a gruelling and protracted fight for control in the east of the country.
One soldier, Yegor Firsov, who is the deputy commander of a Ukrainian army strike drone unit, was speaking from the city of Avdiivka, which has been the centre of intense fighting.
He admitted: “The situation is very difficult.
“We are fighting for the heights around the city.
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“If the enemy controls these heights, then all logistics and roads leading to the city will be under its control.”
Mr Firsov, in a voice message sent to the Politico website, explained: “This will make it much harder to resupply our forces.”
However, Ukrainian forces are clinging on with the help of small First Person View (FPV) drones weighing just 2.2lbs (one kilogram), and which cost just £330 each – peanuts compared with the Russian tanks they target, which cost £1.65m each.
Typically, they have four small engines, a battery, a frame and a camera which is linked wirelessly to goggles worn by a pilot who operates it remotely.
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In a Facebook post, Sgt Firsov said: “It’s hard to handle the emotion when a drone pilot hits a tank.
“The whole group and the whole platoon are happy like babies. Infantry units are rejoicing nearby.
“Everyone is screaming, and hugging. Although they do not know the guy who gave them this happiness.”
Pavlo Tsybenko, acting director of the Dronarium military academy outside Kyiv, said: “This drone costs up to (US) $400 (£330) and can be made anywhere.”
The equipment used microchips imported from China, he explained, adding: “We made the carbon frame ourselves. And the batteries are from Tesla.
“One car has like 1,100 batteries that can be used to power these little guys.
“It is almost impossible to shoot it down.”
Such drones could be packed with 5.5lbs (2.5 kilograms) of explosives and strike targets at a speed of up to 93mph (150 kph).
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