Private businesses in Ukraine are manufacturing a huge arsenal of cutting-edge weaponry that has been striking terror deep into the heart of Russia.
Kyiv’s digital minister Mykhailo Fedorov said that multiple manufacturers in Ukraine were now churning out new long-range drones capable of attacking places as far away from Kyiv as Moscow and St Petersburg.
Fedorov has long championed the use of private military start-ups to innovate and expand the drone industry. The 33-year-old claimed that this year, 2024, would see Ukraine produce more than one million drones.
Fedorov told Reuters that Kyiv had “removed taxes on UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) components” and “simplified the contracting procedure”.
“In other words, we took all the blockages that private sector companies were facing and addressed them in six months by passing all the necessary laws and resolutions,” said Federov.
“The category of long-range kamikaze drones is growing, with a range of 300, 500, 700, and 1,000 kilometres. Two years ago, this category did not exist … at all.”
Ukraine‘s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, had previously set a target of producing one million First Person View (FPV) drones known as ‘Shrikes’. These cheap-to-make short-range drones are being weaponised in huge quantities by both sides on the front.
Fedorov had previously said: “Shrikes are fast and easy to use, hitting exactly the target, hitting positions and equipment of invaders. So each of them will help fighters turn even more equipment of invaders into scrap metal.”
However, the new drones being produced have much greater range and payloads. In recent weeks, Ukrainian drones have reportedly hit St Petersburg – the hometown of Vladimir Putin which is more than 500 miles from Kyiv – on multiple occasions.
Ukraine has also launched multiple successful drone attacks on Russia‘s energy infrastructure, hitting oil facilities and disrupting supply lines. Federov said these attacks reflected the government’s progress in rapidly deregulating the drone market.