Ukrainian government allocates money for 3,00,000 drones

International |  IANS  | Published :

Kyiv/Moscow, May 1 (IANS/DPA) The Ukrainian government is increasing its spending on drones by an additional 15.5 billion hryvnia ($392 million), Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said, as the unmanned surveillance and combat aircraft become increasingly crucial assets for Kyiv in its fight against Russia.

"With the funds allocated today, 300,000 drones will be delivered to our security and defence forces," he said at a Cabinet meeting in Kyiv on Tuesday. According to Shmyhal, Ukraine had previously budgeted 43.3 billion hryvnia for the purchase of drones this year.

Ukraine has rapidly expanded the development and production of drones of various types under pressure from Russia, which launched its full-scale invasion of the country more than two years ago. In recent weeks, it has also increasingly attacked the Russian hinterland with these weapons.

The Russian Ministry of Defence in Moscow said on Tuesday that three Ukrainian combat drones had been intercepted over the border regions of Belgorod and Kursk.

One woman was killed and another injured by unspecified Ukrainian fire in the Russian border village of Kosino, according to the governor of Kursk, Roman Starovoit.

The reports could not be independently verified.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defence Ministry said Ukraine has attacked Russian military bases in Crimea with US-supplied missiles.

It said Russian air defence systems repelled six long-range ATACMS missiles in the past 24 hours.

Independent media reported hits on three military bases on Monday night, injuring several people.

Several soldiers were reportedly injured after a fire broke out during an attack on an air defence position near the Crimean capital Simferopol, according to the independent website Astra.

Sergei Aksyonov, the Moscow-appointed governor of Crimea, said a missile attack on the village of Donske near Simferopol was intercepted. However, he warned of unexploded ammunition remnants.

Simferopol is more than 200 kilometres away from the front line.

The Dzhankoy airport in the north of Crimea, where a Russian helicopter regiment and air defence forces are stationed, also came under fire again. According to media reports, five soldiers were injured there.

Astra said four further soldiers were injured in an attack on a military target in the Chornomorske district in the northwest of the peninsula.

The US said it would be supplying long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine as part of the new weapons package agreed in Congress in April.

Previous US missile deliveries had a range of 165 kilometres.

Elsewhere, Latvia will provide Ukraine with a further military aid package, including anti-aircraft guns and unmanned surveillance drones.

"We must ensure Ukraine wins the war for the sake of Ukraine, European security, and the world order," Prime Minister Evika Sili?a wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

The air defence and drone systems will come from Latvian military stocks.

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