Ukrainian FPV drones set fire at a Russian warehouse, destroying billions of spare parts for high-value military vehicles

Moscow lost billions of dollars worth of military equipment and spare parts after a single Ukrainian drone targeted a warehouse where high-value vehicles were being stored in preparation for an upcoming offensive, according to reports.

Forbes’ David Axe reported that the Russian Armed Forces, which their recent conquest of Avdiivka may have emboldened, reportedly shipped some of its best military equipment to southern Ukraine to prepare for a new offensive. 

Ukraine located some of this equipment in a warehouse and was soon targeted by the country for destruction, something which happened rather quickly and via the use of first-person view attack drones and a lot of skill. 

Drone operators from the Presidential Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine knocked out four pieces of Russian equipment being stored in the small village of Staromlynivka and later released video footage of the drone attack. 

In the part of the video republished and edited by the Ukrianian Telegram news channel Censor, the warehouse attack can be seen from the perspective of the drone flying outside of the warehouse complex before it begins its approach toward its open doors. 

As the drone entered the warehouse, it flew slowly over its targets before stopping near a BMPT Terminator armored fighting vehicle and turning downward to hit and destroy the vehicle. But that wasn’t the only attack.

The video continues by showing three more drone attack approaches on other pieces of equipment in what looked to be the same warehouse, and that footage is followed up by a shot of the warehouse engulfed in flames as another drone attacks. 

The video then cuts to a separate drone attack approach on what appears to be a different location before it cuts again to several pieces of footage from a further vantage point showing the warehouse on fire. It is unclear if it is the same warehouse. 

Ukrainska Pravda reported that the strike destroyed six T-72 tanks and 10 Soviet-era S-60 anti-aircraft—as well as the previously mentioned 20 BMTP Terminator and 25 URAL-4320 off-road vehicles, loaded with ammo, according to the Telegram channel drone operators.

“The Russians had likely gathered the equipment for an offensive, but our pilots tracked it and hit it using drones. The occupiers had hidden the vehicles in warehouses, but the drones found the equipment even there,” the drone operators wrote.

Forbes reported that the drone group claimed the strike cost Russia billions in equipment at the cost of just roughly $1000 for Ukraine, but added that the drone raid was more notable for the range of the strike behind enemy lines. 

“The Russian army isn’t likely to pack tanks and BMPs into warehouses within normal range of Ukraine’s two-pound FPV drones. Two miles or so,” David Axe wrote before going on to say the range could have reached ten miles with help. 

However, as impressive and skillful as the drone strike was for Ukraine, it also revealed a concerning truth about the country’s current capabilities. Axe asked if Ukraine was able to hit targets ten miles behind the lines with drones, then why not with other weapons?

Artillery, glide bombs, and rockets could have hit the Russian warehouses and ensured the destruction of the whole complex. Still, Ukraine opted to use drones instead—which may indicate that Kyiv is running out of its heavier weapons. 

“The answer is obvious. The United States was the main supplier of Ukraine’s heavy munitions, and Russia-aligned Republicans in the U.S. Congress since October have refused to vote on fresh aid to Ukraine,” Axe wrote. 

Axe continued by saying that the warehouse strike was “bad news for Ukraine,” adding that it was an embarrassing loss for the Russians but that “it was equally appalling to the Ukrainians that they had little choice but to attack with drones instead of… rockets.”

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