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The Guardian’s world affairs editor, Julian Borger, brings us this report on the drone operators who halted Russian convoy headed for Kyiv.
One week into its invasion of Ukraine, Russia massed a 40-mile mechanised column in order to mount an overwhelming attack on Kyiv from the north.
But the convoy of armoured vehicles and supply trucks ground to a halt within days, and the offensive failed, in significant part because of a series of night ambushes carried out by a team of 30 Ukrainian special forces and drone operators on quad bikes, according to a Ukrainian commander.
The drone operators were drawn from an air reconnaissance unit, Aerorozvidka, which began eight years ago as a group of volunteer IT specialists and hobbyists designing their own machines and has evolved into an essential element in Ukraine’s successful David-and-Goliath resistance.
However, while Ukraine’s western backers have supplied thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment, Aerorozvidka has been forced to resort to crowdfunding and a network of personal contacts in order to keep going, by getting hold of components such as advanced modems and thermal imaging cameras, in the face of export controls that prohibit them being sent to Ukraine.
Read the full story below.