Ukrainians say Russian drones pose rising menace, extra Stingers wanted By Reuters


© Reuters. Anti-aircraft unit serviceman of the tenth Mountain Assault Brigade, name signal “Chub”, 34, poses for a portrait with a conveyable anti-aircraft missile system, amid Russia’s assault on Ukraine, close to Soledar north of Bakhmut, Ukraine March 23, 2023. REUTERS/Vi


By Mike Collett-White

WEST OF SOLEDAR, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russian forces are more and more utilizing drones in aerial battles over the fiercely contested metropolis of Bakhmut, however the specter of fighter jets and helicopters stays and extra Western weapons are wanted to counter them, Ukrainian troopers stated.

In a small hamlet west of Soledar, a city to the north of Bakhmut now beneath Russian management, troops from an anti-aircraft unit in Ukraine’s tenth Mountain Assault Brigade have been planning to make use of drones to assault Russian positions.

“Not too long ago we’ve got observed numerous exercise of enemy intelligence drones,” a member of the unit who goes by his name signal “Kamin”, that means “Stone”, advised Reuters on Thursday. He declined to present his actual identify.

“The work of (common) aviation has decreased. I can’t say that it has disappeared altogether, however it has decreased. Possibly it is because of the truth that we’re working effectively.”

Kamin, 42, confirmed Reuters a few of the shoulder-held weapons the unit has used to cut back the specter of aircraft and helicopter assaults on frontline Ukrainian positions.

“The principle job for us shouldn’t be essentially to hit the aircraft however to let the pilot know that we’re right here,” he stated in a cramped management room inside a small bungalow.

“If we launch one thing at them then they’re afraid, and there’s a huge distinction between them firing a missile from a aircraft from one to 2 kilometres and 6 to seven kilometres.”

Earlier this month, “Chub”, who serves in the identical unit, stated he had downed a Russian SU-25 jet utilizing a Polish shoulder-held Piorun air defence system on March 9 within the Bakhmut space. Reuters couldn’t independently confirm his account.

“The aircraft flew into our space of duty … and the aircraft was destroyed,” stated the 34-year-old, who’s from the occupied southern Ukrainian metropolis of Mariupol.

“It does not usually occur that they fly into our kill zone … That is very exhausting work and it takes numerous time,” he added. “We’re like hunters ready for prey. We sit for a very long time, typically for months. However in some uncommon moments it occurs.”


In accordance with Kamin, the unit didn’t have sufficient anti-drone weapons to assist defend them from a rising menace, whereas the Russians appeared to have many extra. He picked up an American sniper rifle, which he stated could possibly be efficient in opposition to unmanned aerial autos (UAVs).

The unit not too long ago acquired a Ukraine-made drone packed away in a case able to be deployed within the battlefield. It was able to carrying as much as eight grenades.

Drones are an more and more necessary a part of Ukraine’s army plans with the full-scale struggle effectively right into a second 12 months. Whereas Russia has far higher assets – each by way of troopers and tools – Kyiv believes drone innovation is one space the place it may well start to meet up with Moscow.

“Now it’s a struggle of drones,” Kamin stated. “The Russians used reconnaissance drones, however now they’re additionally utilizing extra drones which can be carrying weapons.”

Regardless of the rising concentrate on UAVs, Kamin urged Western allies to provide extra anti-aircraft weapons, together with U.S. Stingers, which he stated he was working out of.

Notably efficient have been these with thermal imaginative and prescient, he defined, as a result of they assist Ukrainian forces spot enemy plane which can be virtually invisible to the bare eye except they’re shut.

“I would like extra Stingers,” he stated.

America, Europe and different allies have despatched tens of billions of {dollars}’ value of army tools to Ukraine to assist it maintain invading Russian forces at bay.

Whereas that has largely labored to this point, some Ukrainian officers and officers say that their shares of weapons and ammunition, together with artillery shells, are working low.

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