For a few weeks the Ukrainian army he started to use their drones in an unprecedented way, different from the use they had made up to now in the war against Russia: in addition to carrying out attacks and carrying out surveillance activities, the Ukrainians have set up a system that uses drones to facilitate the surrender of Russian soldiers, allowing them to be accompanied to a safe place and save their lives.
The system works like this: Russians who want to surrender must call a telephone number answered by someone reporting to the Ministry of Defense (there is no more precise information on this). That person gives the Russian soldier the coordinates to go to a specific point. There appears a drone, remotely controlled by the Ukrainian army, which the Russian soldier must follow to be accompanied to a safe place, avoiding, for example, roads with mines. At the indicated point he finds Ukrainian soldiers waiting for him.
The telephone line to call was set up in mid-September by the Ukrainian army, and is part of a service called «I want to live», addressed precisely to Russian soldiers eager to surrender. The service also included a Telegram channel, a YouTube channel and a Facebook page. The phone line was already pretty Note among Russian soldiers, so much so that in November the Russian government had tried to block access from phones with Russian SIMs.
Petro Yatsenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Coordination Center for Prisoners of War, said the drone system was born as a result of a specific incident. At the end of November, the Ukrainian army released a video showing a Russian soldier throwing his weapon on the ground, raising his arms and following the path indicated to him by a drone, which then led him towards some Ukrainian soldiers. Yatsenko explained that the system had worked quite well and that therefore the Ukrainian army had thought about extending it.
In December, the Ukrainian military had therefore created and released a video that gave precise instructions on how to surrender to a Ukrainian drone. The video also explained that once the drone arrived and sighted the drone, the Russian soldier had to look at it and raise his arms, and then follow it to its destination. In the event that the drone’s battery was discharged, those who were following him had to remain stationary until another drone arrived.
It’s hard to know how many Russian soldiers surrendered through this system. Yatsenko says some 4,300 requests have come in to surrender; Andriy Yusov, an intelligence officer at Ukraine’s defense ministry, said he had received about 1.2 million general requests for information, most of them from Russian soldiers or their relatives interested in saving their lives. .
These are numbers and figures that must be taken with extreme caution, because they cannot be independently verified. The Telegram channel of «I want to live», however, has approx 40 thousand enrolled, according to the New York Times mostly from Russia and Russian-controlled territories.
The system set up by the Ukrainians is a way to exploit the very low morale of the Russians, who have suffered many defeats throughout the war, even in areas that were firmly under their control in recent months. Above all, the Ukrainian system can exploit the low morale of the thousands of soldiers that Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent to the front with the disputed and problematic mobilization campaign announced at the end of September: in many cases they are soldiers without sufficient training and sufficient resources to fight.
The Ukrainians aren’t the only ones to have devised ways to get enemies to surrender, nor is this drone system the first one employed. Both Russians and Ukrainians have long used artillery means to shoot hundreds of leaflets calling for surrender. Both sides also resorted to television and radio announcements, as well as social media. However, the drone system is the most innovative of those used so far, and Yatsenko said the Ukrainian military has every intention of continuing to use it.
Ukrainian drones used to help Russian soldiers surrender – Il Post