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Ukraine to establish new military branch: Zelenskyy instructs government and General Staff

Ukraine to establish new military branch: Zelenskyy instructs government and General Staff President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Photo: Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Daria Shekina

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has instructed the Cabinet of Ministers and the General Staff to create within the structure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine the Unmanned Systems Forces as a separate entity, according to the president's decree.

The creation of the Unmanned Systems Forces is necessary to enhance the capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

"The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, with the involvement of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, is tasked with considering the issue of creating the Forces of Unmanned Systems within the structure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine as a separate branch of forces and, based on the results of the consideration, submitting relevant proposals for consideration by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine," the decree No. 51/2024 states.

Later, Zelenskyy, in a video address, mentioned that the establishment of the new military branch should yield tangible results very soon.

"Drones – unmanned systems – have proven their effectiveness in battles on land, in the sky and at sea. Ukraine has truly changed the security situation in the Black Sea with the help of drones. Repelling ground assaults is primarily the task of drones. The large-scale destruction of the occupiers and their equipment is also the domain of drones," the president explained.

According to him, the list of tasks for establishing the new Forces is clear:

  • Special staff positions for drone operations;
  • Special units and their effective training;
  • Systematization of experience and continuous scaling of production, as well as attracting the best ideas and specialists to this field.

The president stated that this is a joint task for both the military and the Ministry of Defense and the government.

Ukraine already has the Central Directorate of Unmanned Systems, established to control the application of unmanned and robotic aerial, ground, and marine systems. It also oversees the readiness of military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that use unmanned systems, ensuring they fulfill their designated tasks, strategic planning, and coordination of application.

Million FPV drones for the Ukrainian Armed Forces

Back in December of last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced plans to produce and deliver one million drones to defenders in 2024. Later, it was clarified that this only referred to FPV (First-Person View) drones.

Recently, it was reported that the Defense Procurement Agency of the Ministry of Defense plans to sign contracts for "hundreds of thousands" of drones this year.

Experts provided further insights on whether such a quantity of drones could change the course of the war in a comment to RBC-Ukraine.