It is estimated that about 6,000 commercial drones are currently deployed for combat in Ukraine. Some of these are piloted by young drone pilots. As in the case of 15-year-old drone pilot Andrii Pokrasa, who helped determine the location of a Russian convoy near Kyiv in late February. Thanks to his help, the convoy was successfully destroyed.
Drones in battle
Drones have been extensively used since the war in Ukraine broke out. Not only to document war crimes and to visualize the damage, but above all to help the Ukrainian army carry out effective attacks on the Russian invasion force.
Civilian drone pilots are also called in for this. More than 1,000 drone pilots responded to a call from the military to help. Hundreds of drones were also supplied by foreign organizations, such as Eyes on Ukraine.
Advance at Kyiv
One such civilian drone pilot is Andrii Pokrasa, 15 years old. His help was called in at the end of February. A Russian convoy was en route to the capital, Kyiv, but it was unclear exactly where the convoy was.
Pokrasa launched his drone from a field near his childhood home in a Kyiv suburb. He soon found the convoy about two kilometers away. He passed on the GPS coordinates through his father to the local army command. Not long after, the convoy was hit by Ukrainian artillery.
Andrii had bought his drone in the summer of last year, after seeing beautiful aerial shots of Kyiv. He bought his first mini drone with money he and his father had earned by trading crypto coins. Despite his fear, he decided to heed the army's call.
“He was the only one who had experience with drones in that region,” said Commander Yurii Kashanov. “He is a real hero, a Hero of Ukraine.”
Andrii himself looks back on his heroic deed with mixed feelings. “In the beginning, I was so happy, but it is still people who died there. They were occupiers, but they were people anyway.”
Still, Andrii decided to keep making himself available for new reconnaissance missions. He now uses a DJI Mavic 3 drone with a longer range, provided by the Ukrainian army.
And he's not the only young drone pilot helping to defend his country: Commander Yurii Kashanov says there are even more young people with drones helping the military locate enemy forces.
“They feel like free people in a free country, so that's why they want to be a part of it.”
(Source: Global News)
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