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A Ukrainian soldier preparing to release a drone that will fly over Russian-occupied territory in search of heavy weapons and air defense installations, in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, on Sept. 14, 2023.LYNSEY ADDARIO/The New York Times News Service

Ukrainian manufacturers have ramped up output of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to the extent that Kyiv’s current drone procurement budgets are not sufficient to buy everything being produced, Ukraine’s technology minister said on Tuesday.

Mykhailo Fedorov, a deputy prime minister who also handles the digital brief, has championed the use of drones to fight off the Russian invasion since its early days.

“As of today, the market has accelerated much faster than the amount of money to buy all the UAVs,” Fedorov told Ukrainian national television.

“Therefore we need to increase financing and open up markets further, so that prices fall thanks to competition and localisation of part (production) begins,” he said.

UAVs have been widely used by both Ukraine and Russia in the 22-month war, providing armies with constant eyes in the sky and allowing them to destroy targets hundreds of times the drone’s value, such as air defence systems and advanced radars.

Aerial vehicles are the most commonly used type of drone, although sea and land-borne devices are also being deployed.

According to the minister, there are now about 200 companies in Ukraine making drones, and approximately 70 local firms have now signed contracts to supply drones to the state.

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