Ukraine needs to source new consumer drones that it can retrofit with explosives as China dials back sales to the country

China recently implemented new export restrictions on drone components, posing a challenge for Ukrainian forces.

Alina Smutko/Reuters

Chinese consumer drones are essential to Ukraine’s war effort.
But recent restrictions placed by China on exporting drones have complicated things.
Ukraine is now trying to source consumer drones and their parts from elsewhere — no easy task.

China implemented a new rule earlier this month restricting the export of civilian drone materials, citing concerns about their use in foreign wars.

The move came more than a year after DJI, a major Chinese technology company, stopped selling drones to Russia and Ukraine. DJI also cited concerns that the two countries were using their products for military operations. 

It was true. They were. For Ukraine, these low-cost, Chinese-made drones have become essential to the war effort. Ukrainians retrofit the consumer drones in all kinds of ways so they can deliver added payloads on Russian forces and territory. Ukraine burns through thousands of them every month. 

So the new restrictions have hurt Ukraine’s ability to obtain the tech they need, widening Russia’s advantage as winter approaches. Nearly one month after the export restrictions went into effect, Ukraine is now scrambling to source consumer drones and their parts from anywhere they can.

“At night we do bombing missions, and during the day we think about how to get new drones,” Oles Maliarevych, a Ukrainian officer who helps supply drones for his unit, told The New York Times.

One Ukrainian, the Times reported, brought back a couple from a recent trip to Boston, Mass.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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