Ukrainian Judges Turned Drone Hunters: Defending the Skies of Kiev

Ukrainian Judges Turned Drone Hunters: Defending the Skies of Kiev

A drone captured in the sky seconds before it attacked a building in Kiev, Ukraine, on October 17 last year. The Russian military has been using Iran’s Shahed suicide drone to attack critical infrastructure in Ukraine. /AP Yonhap News

Ukrainian judges armed with old machine guns are active as ‘drone hunters’ on the battlefield rather than in the courtroom, shooting down Russian drones from rooftops in downtown Kiev and suppressing them.

According to the Wall Street Journal and Business Insider on the 23rd (local time), about 35 Ukrainian judges are working in the paramilitary unit ‘Mrya’, which consists of about 380 volunteers. Some of these judges have retired, but some are said to still be working as judges. They have been helping to defend airspace since last fall when Russia began launching Iranian Shahed suicide drones into Ukraine.

Mriya’s members defend the skies of Kiiu using old weapons such as the 1944 Soviet-made Maxim recoil-action machine gun and the 1964 Czechoslovakian general-purpose machine gun. Crews of three to four people take up positions on the roof of a Kiiu building and use tablets, night vision goggles and lasers to track the drones. They stand guard in temporary sheds in winter and on camouflage-covered terraces in summer.

Part of the aircraft believed to be an Iranian-made Shahed drone. /Reuters

The Iranian-made Shahed drone can fly 1,250 miles (about 2,011 km) and can hover or loiter over a target area. Small aircraft containing explosives are called ‘suicide drones’ because they aim at a target and then collide and explode like a missile. If they fly in a group, they can cause great damage.

However, drones move relatively slowly, at about 115 miles (185 km) per hour, so they can be targets of machine gun fire. Shahed drones are said to be easily detected when they get close due to the engine noise, and the closer they get, the easier it is to catch them, and if they are caught, they are said to aim slightly ahead of the direction of travel and shoot them down.

Judge Yuri Chumak (48) of the Ukrainian Supreme Court told the Wall Street Journal, “Mriya units shot down five Iranian Shahed drones,” and “(machine guns) are an easy and cheap way to eliminate drones.” Viktor Fomin, 61, a retired judge from Melitopol in southern Ukraine, had to be discharged half a year after enlisting due to his age, but joined Mrya right away. “If I don’t do this now, the future of my children and grandchildren will not be peaceful,” he said.

According to the Associated Press, they contribute to sophisticated Western air defense systems that have successfully thwarted several Russian attacks on Kiiu. According to recent reports, Russia plans to build thousands of drones called Geran-2 based on the Shahed drone. Accordingly, Insider reported that the work of judges shooting down drones is expected to continue.

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#Ukrainian #judges #armed #machine #guns.. #hunt #Russian #suicide #drones
2023-09-25 07:09:55

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