Civilian drones converted by volunteers to deliver explosives have, over the past week, scored what may be the largest number of kills against Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers since the war in Ukraine began.

A substantial quantity of the destruction has taken place during the failed Russian massed assault against the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka, a Ukrainian government statement said on Monday.

Accumulated counts of Russian armored vehicles that have been confirmed to have been knocked out, burnt, or otherwise put out of action by modified non-military drones totaled 428 pieces of Russian army heavy equipment, including 75 tanks, 88 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, and 163 artillery pieces.

A total of 18 Ukrainian mainly army, as well as national guard and intelligence service units were responsible for inflicting the damage, Monday’s official statement by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) said.

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The statement said all the Russian losses had been confirmed by drone video without offering up corroborating evidence.

According to multiple sources, the Kremlin launched an attempted encirclement operation against the town of Avdiivka in early October. This ended in severe defeat for Russian forces attacking in massed armored columns against Ukrainian troops in well-established fortifications, backed by artillery and anti-tank missile batteries.

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Kyiv Post reported a severe Russian defeat in the area on Oct. 13.

 

According to AFU compiled daily statistics released to the public during the period Oct. 9 - 16 the Russian army suffered some of its highest equipment losses in the war, losing among other key weapons 156 tanks and 232 armored personnel carriers.

Using confirmed open-source data, the Icelandic military analyst Ragnar Gudmundsson said the pace of Russian combat vehicle losses was at near year high. He also linked the spike in numbers to Russian attack operations around Adviivka and elsewhere on the southern and eastern front.

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The newly-released AFU statement on the contribution of light drones to this alleged destruction, matched hundreds of accounts on Ukrainian social and main stream media, as well as personal reports by observers on the ground. Some figures suggest that roughly one in three Russian combat vehicles involved in these operations, which often cost between two and five million dollars, have fallen prey to and been destroyed by hobby drones.

In most cases, a Russian fighting vehicle has struck a landmine or been otherwise immobilized and abandoned by its crew.  Having found the discarded vehicle, the Ukrainian light drone operators will drop as many or five or six explosive munitions, typically grenades, onto it until it burns and is destroyed. 

 

The hobby drones favored by Ukrainian drone teams are almost always of Chinese manufacture intended for civilian hobbyists that, before modification for this attack role, cost between five and fifteen thousand dollars, sometimes less.

Video images of these “cheap and cheerful” Ukrainian drones taking out three million dollar Russian tanks are widespread.

SEE BELOW: Single FPV drones worth $260 have been taking out Russian tanks worth millions of dollars. Ukraine's armed forces need more and one man has a plan to make that happen...

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