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‘Kamikaze robots’ helping Ukraine in fight against Putin as country lowers conscription age

In Europe
April 03, 2024

Ukraine has hailed the “kamikaze robots” helping in the fight against Vladimir Putin‘s army.

Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov shared footage of the silent ground drone, known as Ratel S, which is designed to destroy enemy equipment.

“The real life work of the ground kamikaze robotics Ratel S. Ukrainian defenders blew up a bridge with the help of robot in the Bakhmut area,” he said. “It significantly impacted the logistics of the Russian occupants.”

The robots, developed by Ukrainian engineers, went into mass production late last year. Mr Fedorov added that “more game changing tech” was “on the way”.

It comes as president Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law that will lower the country’s minimum conscription age from 27 to 25, in a bid to help generate more fighting power in the war with Russia.

The Ukrainian Parliament passed the measure in May 2023 but Mr Zelensky only signed it into law on Tuesday..

It expands the number of civilians the army can mobilise to fight under martial law, which has been in place in the country since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

A second bill will also require men who were given disability waivers to undergo another medical assessment, while another law will create an online database of those eligible for military service.

The Bills could help the military draft more fighters as Ukrainian troops face significant challenges on the battlefield, with a shortage of ammunition and vital funding from the US being blocked by Republicans in Congress for months.

Last December, Mr Zelensky said Ukraine’s military wanted to mobilise up to 500,000 more troops.

But he said he had asked the top brass to spell out the details on what is “a very sensitive matter” before deciding whether to grant their wish.

Such a major mobilisation would cost Ukraine the equivalent of $13.4 billion, Mr Zelenskyy said at the time.

Other aspects to be considered include whether troops currently on the front would be rotated or allowed home leave, he said.

The need for a broad mobilisation to beef up the number of Ukrainian troops reportedly was one of the areas of disagreement between Mr Zelensky and General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the popular commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces who was replaced in February.

Ukrainian Defence Ministry statistics say the Ukrainian military had nearly 800,000 troops in October. That does not include National Guard or other units. In total, one million Ukrainians are in uniform.

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