Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has supported a fundraiser to buy 100 drones that operate at sea.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has backed a fundraising campaign to help Ukraine build a naval drone fleet to protect cities from Russian missiles launched from warships in the Black Sea.
United24, an initiative Zelenskyy launched to collect charitable donations after the Russian invasion in February, said Ukraine needed 100 drones operating from the sea, each costing 10 million hryvnias (about $274,000).
The fundraising site said that since the invasion began, Russia has launched more than 4,500 missiles at Ukraine and “every fifth attack came from the sea.”
“We must defend the waters of our seas and peaceful cities against Russian missiles launched from ships,” Zelenskyy wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Friday.
“Marine drones will also help unblock the corridor for civilian ships carrying grain for the world,” he said.
Since the launch of the large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has launched missile strikes from ships in the Black Sea and from Crimea, the Moscow peninsula captured from Ukraine in 2014 and home to the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet.
Russia has also used aerial drones, including Iranian-made so-called “kamikaze” models, to attack Kiev and key infrastructure across the country.
Russia began blocking Ukraine’s Black Sea ports shortly after the February invasion, including blocking vital international grain exports. Three Ukrainian ports were unblocked under a deal brokered with Russia in July by the United Nations and Turkey to help alleviate a global food crisis.
Russia later suspended its participation in the grain deal after it said a Ukrainian attack on three of its Black Sea Fleet ships late last month by a combined force of air and naval drones. Moscow later backtracked on the deal, which expires next week.
“I’m sure millions of people will support this important area of Ukraine’s defense,” Zelenskyy wrote of the naval drone fundraising campaign.
“Everyone has already seen how it works,” he said.
Ukraine has not confirmed or denied that it was behind the air and naval drone attack on the Russian fleet in October.
“Russia has lost its once undeniable advantage on the water,” the statement read on United24.
In July, Zelenskyy launched an “Army of Drones” call for private money to buy a fleet of military drones from countries around the world for use in the war against Russia.