The Army of Drones campaign raises money to procure thousands of drones to provide an effective response to the Russian attacks. The campaign’s website features Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker, a.k.a. Mark Hamill, the actor who portrayed Luke Skywalker, calling on red-blooded Americans to donate their dollars to “strengthen and protect Ukrainian lives.”
The project is part of United24, a global initiative to support Ukraine that was launched on May 5, 2022, by the Ukrainian government. As of December 7, 2022, more than $237 million has been raised from 110 countries.
Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said at a Monday United24 telethon fundraiser that Russia is preparing for an “extreme breakthrough” against his country.
“They are preparing for an extreme breakthrough,” Danilov said and predicted the attack will come around the 1st anniversary of the Russian invasion, on February 24, or in March. “Their mobilization, which did not stop, is a challenge for us. We must prepare for their offensive attempt.”
With that threat in mind, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov said earlier this week that the Army of Drones project has contracted 1,600 drones to the tune of $80 million.
The text posted next to an image of Skywalker flying the Millennium Falcon declares:
The RQ-35 Heidrun has proven itself as an effective and user-friendly UAV for reconnaissance missions. Its highly reliable radio system is capable of withstanding electronic warfare.
The RQ-35 Heidrun’s flight range is 25 kilometers. This drone can transmit video in real-time, which allows it to gather intelligence, without exposing the operator.
The fundraiser is launched at the request of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal declared back on May 3, 2022: “Everyone in the world can make a donation and help Ukraine fight for our freedom. We want to unite the world around the support of our state. Ordinary people, charitable foundations, international companies, and opinion leaders around the world. The creation of the platform is also necessary to demonstrate maximum transparency and openness in the use of funds raised: where and to whom they are directed.”
On May 5, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the launch of the United24 global initiative, the first component of which was the online platform fundraising campaign. The funds are transferred to the National Bank of Ukraine and assigned to the Ministries of Defense, Healthcare, and Infrastructure.
On Sunday, the Kiev-based sports club NAVI (Natus Vincere, Latin for “born to win”), was awarded a trophy from United24 for raising half a million dollars from its members for the cause.
Besides Hamill, the United24 team of global ambassadors includes singer Barbra Streisand, actor Liev Schreiber, astronaut Scott Kelly, the rock band Imagine Dragons, Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina, and Ukrainian soccer player and coach Andriy Shevchenko.