Expert explains what is behind Kiev’s new drone strength

What types of drones does Ukraine use for these attacks?

Videos of the attacks suggest Ukraine is using homemade “Bober” drones. The Bober is a so-called Kamikaze drone, an armed system that explodes with its explosive charge on target. She can fly hundreds of kilometers. In the past, Ukrainian UJ-22s were also believed to have been used for attacks on Russia. Over the past year and a half, Ukraine has become a major drone producer, various systems are being developed and manufactured in the country.

It can be assumed that Ukraine deliberately only uses Ukrainian drone types for attacks on Russian territory, since the western allies have signaled that their weapons should not be used for attacks on Russia.

Against this background, the very latest reports that Ukraine is said to have used Australian “cardboard drones” in an attack on a Russian airfield are interesting. These are small, mostly cardboard drones that can carry a few kilograms of explosives and are reported to be able to fly a few hundred kilometers. The great advantage of these systems is their low price and the fact that due to their material they have (so far) been difficult to locate by the Russian anti-drone defense.

Are we seeing a change in Ukrainian war tactics?

That the number of attacks on Russian territory has increased sharply and is now happening so regularly suggests that we are seeing a shift in tactics here. Although there have been drone strikes on Russian territory in the past, for example on a military airfield in December, Ukrainian drone sightings are now being reported somewhere in Russia almost daily. This new number of attacks may be related to the fact that the Ukrainian counter-offensive is not progressing as well as Kyiv had hoped. The availability of the drones certainly also plays a role.

Do these attacks have an impact on the course of the war?

Currently, drone strikes on Russian territory have limited military utility. Their most important goal is a psychological one: they should show the Russian people that this war can also come back to Russia. It’s not far away, in another country, and it’s none of your business. And they’re also embarrassing for the image of the military, which is obviously incapable of protecting its own people.

But there were also some attacks that were militarily relevant: Ukrainian drones damaged several Russian transport planes and at least one bomber on the ground. The drone boat attacks on Russian warships were even more successful. And should these attacks continue, Moscow may need to move expertise, and perhaps even anti-aircraft systems, from the front lines in the medium term to protect Russia’s rear.

Weapons expert Franke – In the Ukraine war, mega drones with a wingspan of 16 meters also attack

How can Moscow react to the attacks?

For 18 months, Russian troops have been murdering and torturing Ukrainian civilians, bombing Ukrainian cities and reducing the country to rubble. The fact that Vladimir Putin now calls the defense of Ukraine terrorism can hardly be surpassed in terms of cynicism. It’s unclear whether the Russian government will respond specifically to the drone strikes — there have been more rocket and drone attacks on Kyiv recently, but whether these are related to the Ukrainian operations is unclear. If the pressure gets too great, Russia may have to strengthen the air defenses of its cities.

Could Ukraine’s drone strikes cost Western support?

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has clearly stated that Ukraine has every right to defend itself, including attacks on Russian territory. Nonetheless, Ukraine must be careful: drone attacks on purely military targets, such as airfields or ammunition dumps, are undisputed. However, should attacks on civilian targets such as downtown Moscow increase and claim civilian deaths, this could trigger protests among Western supporters and, in the worst case, also affect Western support. It’s unfair, but Ukraine is expected to fight a cleaner UJ-22 war than Russia.

Is the war in Ukraine “the first drone war”?

The war in Ukraine is not the first in which drones play a role. Drones have already been used in Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan and in the confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. However, it was never…


Both small drones such as the “Black Hornet” and large drones with a wingspan of 16 meters are used. Converted quadcopters and armed drones such as the Turkish.


Expert for German and European security and defense policy


Russia is waging an illegal war of aggression, using drones to terrorize and kill the Ukrainian population and destroy civilian infrastructure. Ukraine uses drones to…

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