Ukraine's Vampire Drones Terrorize Moscow's Forces

Ukrainian soldiers launch a Vampire unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near Zaporizhzhya in search of Russian positions on February 2.

With thermal imaging capabilities enabling operations day and night, these attack drones -- known as Baba Yaga by Russian forces, in reference to a mythical Slavic witch -- have been wreaking havoc on Russian positions.

Ukrainian soldiers of the Achilles 92nd Brigade unload a Vampire combat drone near the front line city of Bakhmut on February 1.

Nearly two years into Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the battlefield along the nearly 1,200-kilometer front has largely frozen, with both sides resorting to costly long-distance precision artillery, air-launched cruise missiles, and relatively inexpensive drones.

A Ukrainian soldier attaches shells to drones that will be used to search for and destroy Russian targets.

Ukrainian-made drones are not only used to target Russian positions along the front but also targets within Russia.

Inexpensive and easy to modify, drones have proven to be a cost-effective way to destory expensive Russian hardware from the safety of a position far from the front.


A Ukrainian soldier attaches a shell to a drone.

As the use of drones intensifies, both sides are now engaging in electronic warfare to jam the other's devices, resulting in a notably high loss of drones. U.S. officials report that Ukraine's armed forces are losing an estimated 10,000 drones each month.

Drone operators search for Russian positions near Bakhmut.

Ukraine claims that its use of Vampire drones has been especially effective at targeting tanks at night. 


Under the cover of darkness, a Ukrainian soldier prepare to launch a Vampire drone.

A recent video from a drone unit operating near Bakhmut exclaims, "At night, it's time for the Vampires to fly."

Optimized for nocturnal operations, Ukraine's Vampire attack drones, nicknamed Baba Yaga by Russian troops, evoke the image of an elusive witch from Slavic folklore due to their terrifying and hard-to-detect capabilities.