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26 Dec, 2023 12:37

Ukrainian expert admits Russian drone superiority

Kiev’s troops may have to retreat unless the country steps up UAV production, according to Maria Berlinskaya
Ukrainian expert admits Russian drone superiority

Military volunteer, activist, and director of the Ukrainian Aerial Reconnaissance Support Center, Maria Berlinskaya, claimed in an interview with the Ukrainian Pravda news outlet on Monday that Kiev significantly lags behind Moscow in the development and production of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). 

Her remarks followed Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s announcement last week that Ukraine aims to produce one million FPV drones next year.

Berlinskaya highlighted that Ukraine was ill-prepared for what has evolved into a highly “technological war,” while Russia has embraced electronic warfare and advanced drone development. She criticized Ukrainian authorities for not recognizing the battlefield importance of drones and failing to invest in their development promptly.

Meanwhile, according to Berlinskaya, Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken “personal” control of technological production in Russia and has visited Lancet drone production sites, considering them “one of the most effective weapons” used by Russian forces. She emphasized “the lion’s share” of Kiev’s heavy equipment was being destroyed by Russian attack drones such as the Lancet.

“If we don’t start thinking several steps ahead, we will simply be forced to retreat. This is a fact,” the expert warned, pointing out that drones have proven to be a “game-changer” on the battlefield. “A drone that costs $500 or $600 can destroy a tank that costs $3-4 million dollars. This completely changes the rules of the game.”

Berlinskaya also pointed out Russia’s shift towards developing drone swarm technology and automatic optical guidance and navigation systems, which pose greater challenges for Ukraine's forces due to their resilience against electronic warfare.

Additionally, the military official claimed that the Ukrainian army faces a severe shortage of drones and ammunition for them. She stressed the importance of developing new UAV defense systems, as old ones may become ineffective against Russian drones utilizing optical navigation systems.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin recently announced significant increases in the production of armored units and aircraft, including drones, compared to the previous year. Vladimir Putin has echoed the need to further develop drone technologies and equip the Russian army with cutting-edge weapons, including those based on artificial intelligence.