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8 Feb, 2024 11:45

‘You don’t need help with drones’ – EU’s top diplomat to Kiev

Josep Borrell has said he is surprised by Ukraine’s ability to make UAVs
‘You don’t need help with drones’ – EU’s top diplomat to Kiev

The EU will not help Ukraine obtain drones as the country is already proficient at manufacturing them, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has said.

The diplomat, who visited Kiev on Wednesday, pointed out that the EU has already provided Ukraine with €88 billion ($95 billion) in aid, including €28 billion ($30 billion) for the military, since the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022. He vowed that Brussels will continue its assistance, although apparently not with UAVs.

“You don’t need help with drones,” Borrell insisted during a joint press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba.

The EU’s top diplomat told journalists that he had visited a UAV factory in Ukraine and was “very surprised by the ability of your engineers to create high quality drones in large quantities.” 

“And at the end of the war, Ukraine will be at the forefront of a new way of warfare. This is truly amazing,” Borrell added, as cited by the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

The diplomat said he was impressed that “a country can have such a production capacity of advanced and efficient drones out of nothing in one year,” claiming that Ukraine deserves praise.

The rosy picture drawn by the EU foreign policy chief is in stark contrast with remarks by the CEO of Ukrainian drone maker Athlon Avia, Artyom Vyunnik, who last month complained of red tape, logistical problems, and general uncertainty in the industry.

Ukrainian state contract rules have repeatedly changed during the conflict with Russia, becoming “more risky” for producers, Vyunnik told Radio NV, blaming “total disorganization and miscommunication” within the government.

In January, the head of Electronic and Cyber Warfare at Ukraine’s General Staff, Colonel Ivan Pavlenko, told the Financial Times that “the Russians have been producing so many [drones] lately that it’s becoming a huge threat” for Kiev’s forces.

In the same article, the FT acknowledged that Moscow “maintains the upper hand” when it comes to electronic warfare technology aimed at jamming and diverting enemy UAVs, while Kiev is only “trying to catch up.”

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