Ukraine claims it is producing thousands of drones capable of reaching Moscow

Ukraine will this year produce thousands of long-range drones capable of deep strikes on Russian territory and already has ten companies producing drones capable of reaching Moscow and St. Petersburg, Ukrainian Minister of Digitalization Mihailo Fedorov announced on Monday, according to Reuters, according to Agerpres.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mihailo Fedorov, here to the right of President ZelenskyPhoto: Ukraine Presidents Office / Alamy / Profimedia

Fedorov referred in an interview to the British press agency to the Ukrainian military drone manufacturing sector, following the wave of Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian oil installations in recent weeks.

“The category of long-range kamikaze drones is growing, with a range of 300, 500, 700 and 1,000 kilometers. Two years ago, this category did not exist at all”, said the Ukrainian minister.

33-year-old Mihailo Fedorov is at the center of Ukraine’s efforts to encourage private military startups to innovate and strengthen the drone industry, in the context of the continuation of the unjustified and unprovoked war launched by Russia in February 2022 against the neighboring country.

According to Fedorov, the recent spate of attacks on Russian oil targets reflects the government’s progress in quickly liberalizing the drone market and increasing funding for it.

Grants of approximately 2.5 million dollars were allocated to military technology startups through the BRAVE1 initiative launched by the government in Kiev last year, a value that would increase tenfold this year, he explained.

“We will fight to increase the funding even more”, added the Ukrainian official.

Unlike Russia, where drone production is dominated by the state, the vast majority of drone manufacturers in Ukraine are private. Fedorov mentioned that only one out of 10 companies whose drones can reach the Moscow or St. Petersburg regions is state-owned.

Since the first year of the war in Ukraine, Russia has used thousands of long-range Iranian Shahed drones, which fly to a target and detonate the payload on impact.

Last year, 300,000 drones were contracted by the Ukrainian government

The level of production and deliveries of Ukrainian drones increased more than 120 times in 2023, according to Mihailo Fedorov.

In total, more than 300,000 drones, of various types, were contracted last year by the Ukrainian government, of which at least 100,000 were sent to the front, explained the Ukrainian minister, who specified that the figures do not cover voluntary deliveries, which have a “significant contribution”.

“We have removed taxes on UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) components, simplified the procurement procedure and the decommissioning procedure,” he said.

“In other words, we took all the bottlenecks that private sector companies were facing and solved them in six months by passing all the necessary laws and resolutions.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has set a goal for Ukraine this year to produce one million First Person View (FPV) drones, which are cheap to make.

Ukraine’s drone industry relies heavily on components from foreign countries, including China, widely regarded as a Russian ally. Fedorov said there was an effort to localize component production.

“That’s why I think if we continue this trend, by the end of this year we’ll have a lot of companies making over 50% of their components locally.”

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