X Close

The death games of Ukraine Drone warfare has changed the rules of engagement

“This is modern war, David” says Dima. “The war online.”'(Wojciech Grzedzinski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“This is modern war, David” says Dima. “The war online.”'(Wojciech Grzedzinski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


July 12, 2023   6 mins

Down in a bunker a little way back from the Ukraine frontline, I am watching a staple of modern warfare: a drone attack in real time.

The command centre is a small room with three TV monitors, two of which are divided into four screens. All are showing drone footage from different parts of the front’s 20 kilometres of trenches. Four men sit in front of the screens. Two men sit off at the side — one on a laptop, one manning a two-way radio. In the centre of the room stands Bereza, the Brigade commander, barking voicenotes into his phone.

Two of the screens go black and a message pops up: “Your livestream will play again as soon as it’s available. Get Ready!”  I’m told it happens all the time. The screens cut in and out for all manner of unpredictable reasons. But, then, the image reappears and we are looking at a forest. A Russian tank is on the move — changing direction and wheeling around. The men inside this room are trying to destroy it. Their constant banter —  about girls and weapons — doesn’t seem to affect the focus with which they pursue the tank. One man shouts into the radio; Bereza growls into his phone. A screen goes black again. “Your livestream will play again as soon as it’s available. Get Ready!”

A screen flashes with light. Then billowing smoke. The men whoop and cheer. I have just seen a successful strike. Dima grins. The atmosphere is electric but also strangely banal. The exclusively male cohort, the puerile jokes, the screens, the repeated invocation to “Get Ready!”. It’s like they are all playing a video game.

“This is modern war, David” says Dima. “The war online.”

In some respects, 21st-century warfare began the first time a US MQ-1 Predator UAV (that’s an unmanned Aerial Vehicle) drone flew over the Taliban’s positions to photograph the scene below. The Americans realised drones could be used for more than snooping. They could be modified for combat, armed with missiles and other incendiary devices. China, Iran and Turkey joined the arms race, and now they flood the market with their own cheap and effective drones.

For any state fighting without the wealth of the United States and China (which is everyone else), what is cheap and effective is also necessary. Out in Ukraine, the skies throng with Chinese-made DJI Mavics, Iranian Shaheds, Russian Orlan-10s and Turkish Bayraktar TB2s. Drones may not have the same payload or firepower as a fighter jet, but then again you can’t buy a fighter jet on the internet. For the price of one F-35, you can buy 55,000 DJI Mavic 3s. For less established militaries, drones offer the chance of levelling the field to at least some degree.

I spot a DJI Mavic 3 drone amid the scattered clothing, food and weaponry in the Dnipro 1 base. It’s not more than around 13×12 inches. This is a civilian camera drone — anyone can buy it online for around $3,000. If resource constraints breed creativity, then the Ukrainians are becoming artists. When I covered the battle of Bakhmut, an officer there explained to me how his unit could take out a multi-million-dollar T90 Russian tank by simply buying a Mavic online and fitting it with a small explosive. The Ukrainians have become masters of modifying consumer drones for conflict; of weaponising the everyday into something far more potent.

There is an atmosphere of relaxed watchfulness here. The sound of shells and rockets is distant but constant. The soldiers are fighting the Russians up close with tanks, rockets, artillery, sometimes even rifles. And always drones. Some, including the Iranian-made HESA Shahed 136 that the Russians use, are designed to directly strike targets. These are generally expensive — though the Shahed comes in at around $10,000 upwards, which makes it affordable enough to be expendable (only increasing their threat). But the Ukrainians mainly use drones as “eyes in the sky” — they use the cheaper camera ones to spot enemy targets and then call in their coordinates to other units, mainly artillery, to enable them to strike them more accurately. When ammunition and equipment stocks are low, firing must be accurate. On the front, there are few second chances.

“If I had had this technology in 2014, Putin would not have been able to occupy any of our territories. Fact,” says Dnipro 1 commander Yuriy Bereza. “The most important thing now is online comms. The most important thing is that I can see the reality on the ground.” He’s whittling a piece of cardboard with a knife, which he waves it around for emphasis as he makes his point. “When soldiers are on the front they are stressed and often give the wrong information, but with a drone I can see the situation calmly on the screen… I see the reality, the truth of it all — from above. It impacts how quickly I can make a decision. And whoever is quicker wins.

“It’s incredible how drones are changing the war. If I turn on my phone – a rocket will come out of the sky and land on me. The Russians can track it and they have orders to kill me. So many things in war now are about WhatsApp, Facetime, Signal — wars are being run out of phones. And if you leave a phone on in the wrong place you can die.”

The next morning after coffee, Bereza calls over a soldier who introduces himself as Oleksiy and who was part of the team last night. He is a studious-looking man who before the war was, like Dima, an IT engineer. Once those fighting here would have been the most physically impressive. Now they are recruited for their digital skills. Contemporary conflicts now require different types of soldiers — and they’re neither AI-generated nor Olympians.

He explains that what I had seen yesterday was part of a multi-pronged mission to stop two Russian tanks trying to destroy Ukrainians positions on the zero line while simultaneously trying to draw the unit’s attention away from an attack from the other side. “My role is to coordinate the direction of fire and to give tasks to the different units around me. Those who pilot the drone; those who analyse the coordinates; those who shoot — all of them I coordinate on the battlefield.”

He picks up a book from the table. “Look at this book on how to be a commander. It’s several years old, but we need to react to events as they are now. Military doctrine is like a computer program, it needs to be updated every six months. Drones are the best for choosing tactics, not tomorrow, but right now.”

And you need to be creative. Last night one of the tanks managed to get away but they got the other one by sending the drone up to follow it in real time and then send its coordinates to the artillery as it moved. They could direct their fire in such a way that while they didn’t hit it directly, they forced the tank onto a mine, blowing it up. The whole operation took about three minutes. How would they have done this operation without drones?  “Before drones,” he replies, “the only eyes we had were of the infantry. We sucked.”

What about the air force? He smiles. “Well, for a start the Russians also have more planes. But even so, maybe you can hear a tank from a plane, but you cannot work out where it is. Especially if the tank is hidden and then two minutes later comes out of its hiding place — and the Russians use jamming systems to disguise their movements, but we use drones from a big distance to get around this. Drones allow us to watch the battle in real time.” The benefits drones bring are more than just narrowly military. For a start, there is the question of morale. One of the unit’s key tasks, Oleksiy explains, is to aid their infantry. “When they see us over their heads, [they know] we are protecting them, so they are happier to stay on their frontlines positions, because they know we can be there in one minute,” he says. This, in the end, it’s what it’s all about in war: speed. And drones, if used properly, give you that. Right now, the Ukrainians are reaping the rewards.

The Russians are neither stupid nor technologically naive. According to reports, Ukraine is losing around 10,000 drones per month to Russian electronic warfare. When I spoke to Dima earlier in the year, he told me how much better the enemy was getting at jamming and disrupting his attacks and how much more advanced they were in medium-range drones. Now, 18 months on, despite all their problems, the Russians remain in the field and they are getting better. They have significant technological capabilities — and, crucially, they are learning from their mistakes.

The Ukrainians, meanwhile, are forced to crowdfund for drones (and indeed other equipment). The Russians, bereft of international or often popular domestic support, are reliant on Moscow to keep delivering. It does so inadequately and with little concern for its own men. But its artillery is still firing, and its drones are still in the air. And as the counteroffensive intensifies all the way up and down the line of contact, it is becoming clear that whoever wins the drone wars will come to hold the upper hand in the war — perhaps for good.


David Patrikarakos is UnHerd‘s foreign correspondent. His latest book is War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century. (Hachette)

dpatrikarakos

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

42 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Geoffrey Kolbe
Geoffrey Kolbe
10 months ago

“Ukraine is losing around 10,000 drones per day to Russian electronic warfare.”
I think that should be 10,000 drones per month…

Geoffrey Kolbe
Geoffrey Kolbe
10 months ago

“Ukraine is losing around 10,000 drones per day to Russian electronic warfare.”
I think that should be 10,000 drones per month…

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
10 months ago

This war really needs to cease – nothing will be gained and a lot is at risk. All parties are bad, including the western governments. Russia is a gangster state, Ukraine is unbelievably corrupt and being sold to the highest bidder under the cover of war. Another battle for resources and we were the prime mover.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

Agreed. And the one missing piece of vital information in this fascinating piece is when the Ukrainian military will be implementing DEI protocols. Who cares about how they survive on the front line? We should be more interested in how they are working on equity and inclusion, because we all know that diversity is the key to success in the trenches!

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Imagine being SO stupid that you don’t even realize your being used as cannon fodder all on the promise of free coca cola for life.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Imagine being SO stupid that you don’t even realize your being used as cannon fodder all on the promise of free coca cola for life.

David Fülöp
David Fülöp
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

There is only one country here attacking another one trying to topple its government and that is Russia.

Jim C
Jim C
10 months ago
Reply to  David Fülöp

The West has been working to turn Ukraine into a Western proxy since MI6 and the CIA sponsored Bandera and Lebed and the OUN-B against the USSR following WW2.
You can find a 2014 clip of Nuland telling listeners how the US alone invested $5B in “building democratic institutions” there; ie, buying agents and fostering extreme ethnonationalists (like Svoboda, Pravyi Sektor and Karas’ C14) since the country’s independence in 1991.
Stratfor described (boasted) the 2014 Maidan revolution as the “most blatant coup in history”.
Check out RAND corporation’s 2019 “Extending Russia” document for recommendations to turn Ukraine into Afghanistan 2.0 for the Russians.
This war was foreseen decades ago by George Kennan and John Mearsheimer (and plenty of others) if the West attempted to incorporate Ukraine into NATO.
Ukrainians are being used as cannon fodder in the Western elites’ unending quest for dominance (and sales of military equipment).
How many tens of billions of dollars has this conflict made for the MIC so far? What a great investment. If you’re a psychopath.
When it dawns on enough Ukrainians how they’ve been used, there will be hell to pay.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

Obviously, the vast majority of US businesses, which are not in defence, are but puppets in the hands of the MIC and Hunter Biden.

Simple minded idiocy explains all complex phenomena!

Or rather is the only explanation simple minded people can comprehend…

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

When it dawn’s on them. Well all the stupid ones are in the army. And all the clever ones are American.shills..
Watch a YouTube channel Pavlo from Ukraine. And ask what is really going on in Ukraine.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

Obviously, the vast majority of US businesses, which are not in defence, are but puppets in the hands of the MIC and Hunter Biden.

Simple minded idiocy explains all complex phenomena!

Or rather is the only explanation simple minded people can comprehend…

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

When it dawn’s on them. Well all the stupid ones are in the army. And all the clever ones are American.shills..
Watch a YouTube channel Pavlo from Ukraine. And ask what is really going on in Ukraine.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  David Fülöp

Oh My God. If Putin wins he’ll send his troops marching all across Europe to get to us in the British isles. Like he couldn’t just.send some troops across the North Sea in a leaky boat,have them land on Scarborough Beach.and take Whitby and we wouldn’t know or care because the BBC would be telljng us luverley lascivious stories about the latest family friendly presenter.

Jim C
Jim C
10 months ago
Reply to  David Fülöp

The West has been working to turn Ukraine into a Western proxy since MI6 and the CIA sponsored Bandera and Lebed and the OUN-B against the USSR following WW2.
You can find a 2014 clip of Nuland telling listeners how the US alone invested $5B in “building democratic institutions” there; ie, buying agents and fostering extreme ethnonationalists (like Svoboda, Pravyi Sektor and Karas’ C14) since the country’s independence in 1991.
Stratfor described (boasted) the 2014 Maidan revolution as the “most blatant coup in history”.
Check out RAND corporation’s 2019 “Extending Russia” document for recommendations to turn Ukraine into Afghanistan 2.0 for the Russians.
This war was foreseen decades ago by George Kennan and John Mearsheimer (and plenty of others) if the West attempted to incorporate Ukraine into NATO.
Ukrainians are being used as cannon fodder in the Western elites’ unending quest for dominance (and sales of military equipment).
How many tens of billions of dollars has this conflict made for the MIC so far? What a great investment. If you’re a psychopath.
When it dawns on enough Ukrainians how they’ve been used, there will be hell to pay.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  David Fülöp

Oh My God. If Putin wins he’ll send his troops marching all across Europe to get to us in the British isles. Like he couldn’t just.send some troops across the North Sea in a leaky boat,have them land on Scarborough Beach.and take Whitby and we wouldn’t know or care because the BBC would be telljng us luverley lascivious stories about the latest family friendly presenter.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

“and we were the prime mover”

Russia is the prime mover, to think otherwise it bizarre. USA had to be mugged by reality before it started backing Ukraine at scale, following only after Poland & UK already started sending everything they could.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago

Yes,it was really handy. Charity shop rearmament. We had to pay good money to warehouse all that antiquated tech and no longer supported software. So we sent all that useless crap to Ukraine and Zelensky was delighted until he got wise to it. Now he’s really pissed because he’s onto our game. All those cluster bombs Sleepy Joe is sending,the old ones that don’t work.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago

Yes,it was really handy. Charity shop rearmament. We had to pay good money to warehouse all that antiquated tech and no longer supported software. So we sent all that useless crap to Ukraine and Zelensky was delighted until he got wise to it. Now he’s really pissed because he’s onto our game. All those cluster bombs Sleepy Joe is sending,the old ones that don’t work.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

Won’t cease until Russia is exhausted and in turmoil. Crimean War, Japanese War, 1905, WW1, Afghanistan. Nearly all Russian wars end with regime change.

They can only win as part of a grand coalition.

Otherwise, too incompetent to accomplish anything.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

It’s like the Flashman novel in real life. The Great Game. Who knew we have time traveled back to the 19th.centuty.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

It’s like the Flashman novel in real life. The Great Game. Who knew we have time traveled back to the 19th.centuty.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

It’s too profitable to end it.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

Agreed. And the one missing piece of vital information in this fascinating piece is when the Ukrainian military will be implementing DEI protocols. Who cares about how they survive on the front line? We should be more interested in how they are working on equity and inclusion, because we all know that diversity is the key to success in the trenches!

David Fülöp
David Fülöp
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

There is only one country here attacking another one trying to topple its government and that is Russia.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

“and we were the prime mover”

Russia is the prime mover, to think otherwise it bizarre. USA had to be mugged by reality before it started backing Ukraine at scale, following only after Poland & UK already started sending everything they could.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

Won’t cease until Russia is exhausted and in turmoil. Crimean War, Japanese War, 1905, WW1, Afghanistan. Nearly all Russian wars end with regime change.

They can only win as part of a grand coalition.

Otherwise, too incompetent to accomplish anything.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

It’s too profitable to end it.

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
10 months ago

This war really needs to cease – nothing will be gained and a lot is at risk. All parties are bad, including the western governments. Russia is a gangster state, Ukraine is unbelievably corrupt and being sold to the highest bidder under the cover of war. Another battle for resources and we were the prime mover.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
10 months ago

The one missing piece of vital information in this fascinating piece is when the Ukrainian military will be implementing DEI protocols. Who cares about how they survive on the front line? We should be more interested in how they are working on equity and inclusion, because we all know that diversity is the key to success in the trenches!

Campbell P
Campbell P
10 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Interesting that both Israel and the US now, after experience, having to rethink the infantry role for women. Compensation medical claims from women after a spell in the infantry. OK, there may be exceptions but the Brit army really needs to rethink this one.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Campbell P

Don’t they all get preggers.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Campbell P

Don’t they all get preggers.

Campbell P
Campbell P
10 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Interesting that both Israel and the US now, after experience, having to rethink the infantry role for women. Compensation medical claims from women after a spell in the infantry. OK, there may be exceptions but the Brit army really needs to rethink this one.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
10 months ago

The one missing piece of vital information in this fascinating piece is when the Ukrainian military will be implementing DEI protocols. Who cares about how they survive on the front line? We should be more interested in how they are working on equity and inclusion, because we all know that diversity is the key to success in the trenches!

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
10 months ago

Scary for soldiers as I’d hate to have to worry about drones following me around and filming my death. Fascinating in how war is changing. Reminds me of WW1 were new tech and old tactics led to the initial stalemate. All this new tech but still soldiers fighting in trenches.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
10 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

I think it might be more significant than that.

Both Russia and NATO don’t have the industrial capacity to decisively increase advanced arms in the field. Neither side is doing much innovation with drones, using them as they would traditional aircraft.

This has parallels with the late 18th century Ottoman Empire. It did have access to modern weapons, but their numbers were limited by its feeble industrial capacity. It could never contemplate military strategies integrating lots of advanced weaponry, so its military strategies also stagnated in a world of rapid technological change. The Ottoman Empire ultimately got sidelined by history.

Asia is supplying the electronic equipment needed by both NATO and Russia for this modern warfare. Only Asia has the industrial capacity to decisively increase the deployment of advanced arms in the field. Probably only Iran and China can build swarms of drones, and therefore develop fighting strategies using swarms. Meanwhile NATO (and presumably Russia) has almost all of its modern weapons and even traditional ordnance on decade-long back order.

Last edited 10 months ago by Nell Clover
martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Since various anti-air cannon and machine guns have been downing nearly all Iranian drones, they are at best of marginal significance.

Only Russia’s expensive cruise missiles need to be shot down by Patriots.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Aw,less kill Russians,less tear em limb from limb. We luvs ter.kill Russians.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Aw,less kill Russians,less tear em limb from limb. We luvs ter.kill Russians.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Since various anti-air cannon and machine guns have been downing nearly all Iranian drones, they are at best of marginal significance.

Only Russia’s expensive cruise missiles need to be shot down by Patriots.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

We should all say No. Russian soldiers. Ukranian ones. What’d happen if the UK government introduced conscription.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
10 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

I think it might be more significant than that.

Both Russia and NATO don’t have the industrial capacity to decisively increase advanced arms in the field. Neither side is doing much innovation with drones, using them as they would traditional aircraft.

This has parallels with the late 18th century Ottoman Empire. It did have access to modern weapons, but their numbers were limited by its feeble industrial capacity. It could never contemplate military strategies integrating lots of advanced weaponry, so its military strategies also stagnated in a world of rapid technological change. The Ottoman Empire ultimately got sidelined by history.

Asia is supplying the electronic equipment needed by both NATO and Russia for this modern warfare. Only Asia has the industrial capacity to decisively increase the deployment of advanced arms in the field. Probably only Iran and China can build swarms of drones, and therefore develop fighting strategies using swarms. Meanwhile NATO (and presumably Russia) has almost all of its modern weapons and even traditional ordnance on decade-long back order.

Last edited 10 months ago by Nell Clover
jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

We should all say No. Russian soldiers. Ukranian ones. What’d happen if the UK government introduced conscription.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
10 months ago

Scary for soldiers as I’d hate to have to worry about drones following me around and filming my death. Fascinating in how war is changing. Reminds me of WW1 were new tech and old tactics led to the initial stalemate. All this new tech but still soldiers fighting in trenches.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago

We have lots of drones on commuter trains coming in from Kent and Surrey, glued to the lap tops, office securitypasses round their necks, all clad in combustible poly draylon… perhaps they could cunningly be deployed to bore an enemy to death or suicide as they droned on about ITor insurance?

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago

By God, they scare me!

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago

By God, they scare me!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago

We have lots of drones on commuter trains coming in from Kent and Surrey, glued to the lap tops, office securitypasses round their necks, all clad in combustible poly draylon… perhaps they could cunningly be deployed to bore an enemy to death or suicide as they droned on about ITor insurance?

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
10 months ago

As if they were playing a video game. Chilling.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
10 months ago

As if they were playing a video game. Chilling.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago

Putin’s draft turns out to have been a bad mistake. Many of those who fled the country were IT specialists, who might have aided in the production of drones and development of drone doctrine.
Nearly all the “mobiks” drafted since then have been people from low-tech parts of the country.
Indeed, the leaders of the Donbas republics admit that almost no military age men remain who are either in the army, fled or casualties. That’s now seems to be Russia’s future.
Ironically, it seems that, actually, Donbas annexed Russia, not the other way around.

D Walsh
D Walsh
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Martin, It’s not hard to find videos of Russian drones destroying all kinds of Ukrainian/NATO hardware

The Russians seem to have more/better drones

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Both sides have drones. The Russian survey drones are likely as cheap as Ukraine. Russians have much better jamming kit in general The Russians use strike drones more than Ukraine. Unclear if there are skill differences. Hopefully the US is watching carefully.

D Walsh
D Walsh
10 months ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

At the start of the war, we were told the Switchblade was going to decimate the Russians, it turned out to be no better than the Leopards and Bradleys/Strikers

For the true believers its all about the F-16 now, they really believe it will make all the difference

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

No, the cluster bombs will change it, if anything does. Virtually an infinite number.

Poor mobiks!

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The weapons Diana got “banned” just before she died. ….. I say,she intervened in the industrial-military complex then she died….but the driver was pissed,and accidents happen

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The weapons Diana got “banned” just before she died. ….. I say,she intervened in the industrial-military complex then she died….but the driver was pissed,and accidents happen

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

No, the cluster bombs will change it, if anything does. Virtually an infinite number.

Poor mobiks!

D Walsh
D Walsh
10 months ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

At the start of the war, we were told the Switchblade was going to decimate the Russians, it turned out to be no better than the Leopards and Bradleys/Strikers

For the true believers its all about the F-16 now, they really believe it will make all the difference

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

“Seem” is meaningless in the fog of any war.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Both sides have drones. The Russian survey drones are likely as cheap as Ukraine. Russians have much better jamming kit in general The Russians use strike drones more than Ukraine. Unclear if there are skill differences. Hopefully the US is watching carefully.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

“Seem” is meaningless in the fog of any war.

P Branagan
P Branagan
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Nurse cones in:….. “Martin Dear it’s time for your anti-dementia meds and your Horlicks…..”
Nurse walks out and turns out the lights.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Fact based repostes are always the best!

Thanks!

Last edited 10 months ago by martin logan
martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Fact based repostes are always the best!

Thanks!

Last edited 10 months ago by martin logan
Jim C
Jim C
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Almost half of Ukraine’s population have left the country since the Maidan coup in 2014 (and many of those millions fled to Russia after the Ukrainians started shelling the rebel areas and discriminating against Russian-speakers – so those “Ukrainians” are available as human resources to Russia).
Whereas (I believe) maybe a million Russians have left Russia since this war kicked off early last year.
The Ukrainians thus face far greater human resources challenges than the Russians. Ukraine will be receiving more technical help from the rest of the world, true, but there’s no question that China are in Russia’s corner.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

Interesting… take…on the real situation:

A quarter (not a half) of Ukraine’s population is displaced, many of whom are INTERNALLY DISPLACED. Legally , males of draft age can’t leave the country.

Ukraine is fully mobilized, from a population as large as France in WW1.

Whereas Putin dare not mobilize.

So who’s gonna win?

But keep trying!

Last edited 10 months ago by martin logan
jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

But they are all so stupid they aim it at themselves. It’s war.as done by Fred Karnos Army. They’ve even got a Clown as a leader.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

Interesting… take…on the real situation:

A quarter (not a half) of Ukraine’s population is displaced, many of whom are INTERNALLY DISPLACED. Legally , males of draft age can’t leave the country.

Ukraine is fully mobilized, from a population as large as France in WW1.

Whereas Putin dare not mobilize.

So who’s gonna win?

But keep trying!

Last edited 10 months ago by martin logan
jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

But they are all so stupid they aim it at themselves. It’s war.as done by Fred Karnos Army. They’ve even got a Clown as a leader.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

What happened to “over by Xmas” 2022. The people of Donbas voted to be Russian. But that was a democratic vote and thus Unamerican.

D Walsh
D Walsh
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Martin, It’s not hard to find videos of Russian drones destroying all kinds of Ukrainian/NATO hardware

The Russians seem to have more/better drones

P Branagan
P Branagan
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Nurse cones in:….. “Martin Dear it’s time for your anti-dementia meds and your Horlicks…..”
Nurse walks out and turns out the lights.

Jim C
Jim C
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Almost half of Ukraine’s population have left the country since the Maidan coup in 2014 (and many of those millions fled to Russia after the Ukrainians started shelling the rebel areas and discriminating against Russian-speakers – so those “Ukrainians” are available as human resources to Russia).
Whereas (I believe) maybe a million Russians have left Russia since this war kicked off early last year.
The Ukrainians thus face far greater human resources challenges than the Russians. Ukraine will be receiving more technical help from the rest of the world, true, but there’s no question that China are in Russia’s corner.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

What happened to “over by Xmas” 2022. The people of Donbas voted to be Russian. But that was a democratic vote and thus Unamerican.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago

Putin’s draft turns out to have been a bad mistake. Many of those who fled the country were IT specialists, who might have aided in the production of drones and development of drone doctrine.
Nearly all the “mobiks” drafted since then have been people from low-tech parts of the country.
Indeed, the leaders of the Donbas republics admit that almost no military age men remain who are either in the army, fled or casualties. That’s now seems to be Russia’s future.
Ironically, it seems that, actually, Donbas annexed Russia, not the other way around.

Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
10 months ago

I’m still no wiser about how the rules of engagement are being changed. Could it be that someone at Unherd doesn’t know what rules of engagement are?

Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
10 months ago

I’m still no wiser about how the rules of engagement are being changed. Could it be that someone at Unherd doesn’t know what rules of engagement are?

new aether
new aether
10 months ago

.

new aether
new aether
10 months ago

.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago

Hateful vile bastards. Those ukranians. I hope Putin whups the lot of em.

jane baker
jane baker
10 months ago

Hateful vile bastards. Those ukranians. I hope Putin whups the lot of em.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago

Looks like the cluster bombs will be the deciding factor. Plenty of them in the West, and not much poor mobile can do against them. Even now Storm Z units suffer 70% casualties in their counter attacks.

Girkin/Strelkov claims any number of Russian ldrs are planning to oust Putin and end the war.

Not that any Russian (not in the trenches) cares, of course.

martin logan
martin logan
10 months ago

Looks like the cluster bombs will be the deciding factor. Plenty of them in the West, and not much poor mobile can do against them. Even now Storm Z units suffer 70% casualties in their counter attacks.

Girkin/Strelkov claims any number of Russian ldrs are planning to oust Putin and end the war.

Not that any Russian (not in the trenches) cares, of course.