Russia trains drone pilots to fight in Ukraine

Russia trains drone pilots to fight in Ukraine

Russia's heavy losses in Ukraine forced it to send conscripts and criminals to the front. A new center in occupied Ukraine is training Russian military and civilian drone operators to counter Ukrainian forces.

Civilians trained at the three-month-old center in Donetsk did not officially join the army, Russian news site Argumenty i Fakty reported on August 12. "It's important to understand that training drone operators for warfare requires a completely different approach than training civilian pilots.

Here, in addition to studying technical and tactical issues, it is necessary to train personnel interactions within the unit, to cooperate with other affiliated units and to coordinate the work of combatants," an unnamed founder of the center told the Russian news site.

It is unclear how "combatant coordination" differs from combat. This blurs the lines between civilians and the military and creates a new type of combatant, said Sam Bendert, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a consultant to CNA. "We have to stress that this training effort blurs the lines between civilian and military. So at some point this has to either be formally incorporated into [the Department of Defense] or disbanded because it puts civilians at risk, even if they voluntarily yes," Bender said