HIMARS strike by Ukraine targets Russian drone pilots at training school in Donetsk, say reports

Ukrainian military personnel display a downed Russian drone during a press conference.
Ukrainian military personnel display a downed Russian drone during a press conference.SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images
  • A HIMARS attack targeted a Russian drone training school in occupied Donetsk, say reports

  • Acting head of the Donetsk People's Republic said six people were killed and 11 injuried in the attack.

  • He said the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) were responsible.

Russian officials say a Ukrainian missile attack on Ukraine's occupied eastern Donetsk region targeted a Russian drone pilot training center, Newsweek reports.

Acting head of the Donetsk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin, said a Ukrainian HIMARS attack resulted in six deaths and 11 injuries.

The highly-prized US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) hasebeen instrumental in allowing  Ukraine to strike Russian positions at ranges far beyond all other available artillery.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian HIMARS targeted a large Russian column delivering troops and ammunition to reinforce positions in the Kherson region, Ukraine's Euromaidan Press reported.

Earlier this year, a HIMARS attack on five Russian units gathered on a beach resulted in 200 casualties and destroyed equipment.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attack on the drone pilot training center.

Videos showed the aftermath of the attack on the Vladimir Zhoga UAV Center in the city of Donetsk, which, according to Russian media, has trained thousands of drone operators.

A memorial plaque bearing Zhoga's name and the center's address is reportedly visible in social media videos, indicating the facility's military nature.

Drone pilots are high-value targets


Skilled drone pilots have become high-value targets for both sides in the Ukraine-Russia war, in which attack and surveillance drones have become vital battlefield weapons.

Even though they frequently operate from behind the front-lines, the drone controllers often leave an electronic trace if they aren't careful, which allows the enemy to pinpoint and follow them, The Economist reported in October.

"A lot of people want to become drone pilots because they think the work is further back and safer," one front-line commander told the outlet. "The reality is that it's extremely dangerous to be flying battlefield drones."

"If your cover is poor, then you are likely a dead man," a drone pilot operating in the Zaporizhia province told The Economist. "God, not physics, decides if you survive."


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