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Ukraine sets up drone assault units


Ukraine said on Friday it was setting up drone assault companies within its armed forces that will be equipped with Starlink satellite communications, as it presses ahead with an idea to build up an “army of drones”.

Commander-in-chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi signed off on the creation of the units in a project that will involve several ministries and agencies, the General Staff said.

“The most professional servicemen” have already been chosen to lead the companies, each of which will receive drones and ammunition, Starlink terminals and other equipment, it said on Facebook.

“We are doing everything to provide soldiers with modern technologies,” it said.

Starlink is a satellite internet system operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, and widely used both by civilians and the military in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s defence minister told Reuters last month that he regarded drones as the future of modern warfare.

Unmanned aircraft have played a crucial role on both sides since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Moscow has used hundreds of Iranian-made “suicide drones” to attack Ukrainian cities. Ukrainian forces use drones to drop small explosives on Russian forces and surveil their movements.

The war, now in its twelfth month, has slowed in recent weeks to an attritional battle with few territorial gains for either side.