Ukraine’s military has trolled Russia with social media video that appears to show a Russian soldier surrendering to a drone.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense shared the video in a tweet on Friday. The Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) is continuing to heavily focus on using tactical and surveillance drones to aid in the nearly nine-month war with invading Russian forces. The video shared on Friday was taken from the vantage point of the drone and purportedly showed a Russian soldier walking in a grassy area with his hands up after surrendering.
“[Ukrainian] drones are the fiercest enemies of the [Russian] occupiers,” said the ministry while tweeting the video. “But it turns out not of all of them. This one took into captivity an occupier that realized that surrender is a chance to survive, as opposed to attempting to resist the #UAF, where the chance of survival is 0. Drones know.”
Several comments on the tweet argued that the soldier might have been surrendering to troops on the ground rather than the drone. Toward the end of the 22-second clip, it becomes apparent that the Russian solider is walking toward a group of presumably Ukrainian soldiers who are pointing weapons at him.
It is unclear what type of drone is recording the footage shared on Friday. Some of the Ukrainian military’s drones, like U.S.-made Switchblade drones, are fierce offensive weapons that are easily capable of killing troops or destroying military equipment.
Other drones used by Ukraine pose little direct threat. Supplies of surveillance drones have been increasing since July, when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky‘s global donation initiative United24 announced the creation of the “Army of Drones” program.
The program asks international donors to supply Ukraine with “dronations” of consumer drones and monetary donations to purchase other unmanned aerial vehicles. Army of Drones has been promoted by international celebrities such as Star Wars actor Mark Hamill.
“Ukrainians need drones to protect their land, their freedom and the values of the entire democratic world,” Hamill said after being named the program’s “ambassador” in September. “Right now is the best time for everyone to come together and help Ukraine stand up in this war with the evil empire.”
With U.S. officials estimating that Russia has suffered over 100,000 casualties during the war and following successful Ukrainian counteroffensives, an increasing number of Russian troops are surrendering without the encouragement of any opposing drones or soldiers.
Ukraine started an “I Want to Live” campaign to encourage Russian troops to lay down their arms in September, operating a hotline and a chatbot to help the troops pre-arrange their surrender. Campaign spokesman Vitaliy Matvienko told the Kyiv Post this week that over 3,500 requests had been received since September 18.
Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.