Amidst continued tensions, Russia launched a new wave of drone attacks on Ukraine, emphasizing the increasing reliance on drones in this prolonged conflict. CBS News received exclusive access to Ukraine’s newly-established drone unit that has been targeting Russian forces behind the frontline. This unit, part of Ukraine’s 24th Mechanized Brigade, has notably used the R18 octocopter, a drone wholly designed in Ukraine, to destroy significant Russian military assets, equating to millions in value.
1. Ukrainian Defense: The Ukrainian Air Force reported successfully countering a majority of the recent drone attacks from Russia, downing 29 out of 31 exploding aircraft.
2. Ukrainian Drone Unit: The Ukrainian military’s new drone unit has been successful in striking Russian forces behind the frontline, using the R18 octocopter, a locally-designed drone, which has proven to be both cost-effective and highly effective in combat.
3. Significant Damage: In just one month, the 24th Mechanized Brigade has destroyed around $40 million worth of Russian military hardware.
4. Supply Challenges: Despite an official ban from China on exporting drones to both Ukraine and Russia, Ukraine has been able to secure Chinese drones through indirect means, albeit at a slower rate.
5. U.S. Aid Situation: While the drone unit has been effective, U.S. aid for Ukraine has been suspended, increasing the importance of conserving and effectively utilizing existing resources.