How Ukraine counters use of drones by Russian hybrid forces

Ukraine, War in Donbas

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, play an integral role on the modern battlefield. They are small and can transmit the information about the enemy’s positions. They are hard to detect, but Ukraine’s servicemen manage to locate and take them down. UATV will tell you the whole story.

Pavlo Netiosov, “Evacuation 200” Search Mission Participant:

We find such some fragments here. It doesn’t look like anything interesting, but seeing that it is a quality fiberglass that is used in aviation, we began to examine it in more detail. It has a number: 905. There are a number and an identification. This is the same number: 905. Do you see? And it has an Israeli sign.

The remains of a mysterious Israeli UAV (drone) were found by “Evacuation 200” members during one of the search expeditions in Donbas. Mission representatives documented and conducted their investigations to find out how the extent to which drones are being used in the war in Ukraine’s east.

Pavlo Netiosov:

It was found out that it was these Israeli drones bought by the Russian Federation specifically to produce their own UAVs on Israeli model. We found this 905th drones on the Internet. Photo, where it has the number 905 in Kubinka town, Russia. There are military standing there in Russian pea jackets. That’s it.

10 “Searcher II” drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) were purchased by Russia in Israel in 2011. The contract also provided Moscow with a possibility to develop a licensed copy of Israeli drones under the Russian name “Forpost.” A factory in Yekaterinburg produces them using Israeli components. In total, five drones of this type have been found in Donbas.

Armed Forces Soldier:

This drone is very difficult to use. Only an expert can manage with this task. I’m sorry to say this but it is impossible to teach a miner to use it in a short time. It was Russian specialists carrying out reconnaissance of our positions.

As a result, Israel refused further sales of these drones in Russia. However, the Kremlin’s military industry has their own solutions to replace the lost Israeli equipment. In April 2016, in soldiers in Ukraine’s Armed Forces shot down a “ZALA” drone produced by Russia. It is designed for handling small cargo.

Vadym Skibitskyi, Representative of Main Intelligence Directorate, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine:

We have a lot of cases when Russian unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down in Donbas. Among them are “Forpost,” “Orlan-10,” and all types of small tactical drones used for reconnaissance and artillery systems for firing at our positions.

“Orlan-10” was shot down by Ukrainian servicemen in Donetsk region in November 2016. It turned out that the UAV made at least four reconnaissance missions in Mariupol direction, eastern Ukraine. It managed to collect more than 500 photographs of Ukrainian positions. And they launched it directly from the territory of Russia.

Oleh Slobodian, Assistant to Head of State Border Guard Service:

The Russian Federation used drones for target designation and conducting air reconnaissance. And, unfortunately, they succeeded. We have a tragic example: Zelenopilya. The first use of multiple launch rocket systems “GRAD” there by Russia.

UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have become an integral part of modern combat operations. They can be quite difficult to shoot down. After all, the target is small but flies high. Drones transmit gigabytes of the most current intelligence data. However, the same data and the UAV itself, once captured, can serve as evidence of Russia’s own crimes.

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