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Ukraine Separatists Use Russian Drones to Attack Ukrainian Army

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Intense fighting continues in east Ukraine as Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the US commander of US forces in Europe, claims Russia provided drones to the pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine. These drones are obstructing Ukraine’s communications with troops on the ground.

“It is very difficult for Ukrainian forces to be able to operate on radios, telephones and other non-secure means of communications because their opponents have such an exceptional amount of jamming capability,” he said. “Even if you can acquire where mortar or rockets are coming from, to be able to do something about it is very difficult if you can’t communicate.”

The drones also allow the militants to “pinpoint the location of Ukrainian troops” and direct missiles at them.

“The rebels have Russian-provided UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that are giving the rebels the detection capability and the ability to target Ukrainian forces,” he continued. “So they’ve suffered heavy casualties from heavy artillery and from rockets.”

As Christopher Miller at Mashable points out, the war in east Ukraine exploded in January after a quiet December. Seven civilians died in Debaltseve, which is 45 miles northeast of Donetsk, after shells exploded in their homes. On Friday, at least 14 civilians died in a humanitarian aid line after a Russian shell hit nearby. Another shell killed two people as they waited to take a bus to leave town and five others died from artillery fire.

Last week, separatists killed 30 and wounded 102 people in Mariupol, an important port city. Rockets launched from GRAD missile systems hit a crowded market.

On January 20, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk confirmed more Russian forces entered Ukraine after he spoke with the National Security and Defense Council.

“I have just spoken with the national defense and security council secretary,” he said. “Ukrainian military intelligence confirm the fact military personnel and equipment have been transferred from Russia to Ukraine. Tanks, GRAD multiple rocket systems, BUK and SMERCH systems, radio electronic intelligence systems are not sold at local Donetsk street markets. Only the Russian army and Defense Ministry have them.”


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