Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky backed a fundraising drive for the purchase of 100 sea-operated drones.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has backed a fundraising campaign to help Ukraine build a naval fleet of drones to protect cities from Russian missiles launched from warships in the Black Sea.
Ukraine said United24, an initiative launched by Zelensky to collect charitable donations after the Russian invasion in February Need 100 drones Operating from the sea, the cost of each is 10 million hryvnia (about $ 274,000).
Since the invasion began, Russia has fired more than 4,500 missiles at Ukraine and “every fifth strike came from the sea,” the fundraising website said.
“We must defend the waters of our peaceful seas and cities from Russian ship-launched missiles,” Zelensky wrote in the Telegram messaging app on Friday.
“Navy drones will also help open the corridor of civilian ships carrying grain to the world,” he said.
Since the start of its massive invasion of Ukraine, Russia has carried out missile strikes from ships in the Black Sea and from Crimea, the peninsula that Moscow captured from Ukraine in 2014 and which houses the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet.
Russia has also used drones, including Iranian-made “Kamikaze” models, to attack Kyiv and key infrastructure across the country.
Russia began blockading Ukraine’s ports on the Black Sea shortly after the February invasion, including blocking the vital international export of grain. Three Ukrainian ports have been opened under a deal brokered with Russia in July by the United Nations and Turkey to help ease the global food crisis.
Russia later suspended its participation in the grain deal after what it said was a Ukrainian attack on three of its fleet’s ships in the Black Sea late last month by a combined force of air and sea drones. Moscow later returned to the deal, which is set to expire next week.
“I am sure that millions of people will support this important area of Ukraine’s defense,” Zelensky wrote of the drone fundraising campaign.
“Everyone has already seen how it is done,” he said.
Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the October air and sea drone attack on the Russian fleet, which a statement posted on United24’s website said was the first such attack in the months-long conflict that was carried out exclusively by drones.
“Russia has lost its once undeniable advantage over the waters,” the statement on United24’s website said.
In July, Zelensky launched an appeal to the “Drone Army” for special funds to purchase a fleet of military-grade drones from countries around the world for use in the war against Russia.
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