Ukraine’s military will spend nearly $550m on drones in 2023, and 16 supply deals have already been signed with Ukrainian manufacturers, the country’s defence minister has said.

Both Ukrainian and Russian forces have used a wide array of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, for reconnaissance and assault purposes during 11 months of war.

“In 2023, we are increasing the procurement of UAVs for the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Oleksii Reznikov said in a Facebook post.

Ukraine has received significant supplies of UAVs from its partners, from Turkey’s missile-equipped Bayraktar TB2

to the Norwegian-made Black Hornet reconnaissance drone, which weighs less than 33 grams. Kyiv is now seeking to boost domestic production to build what officials cast as an “army of drones”.

Ukraine’s president says he met with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in the southern Ukrainian

region of Mykolaiv and discussed the impact of Russian missile and drone strikes with regional officials.

“We discussed the operational situation in the south of Ukraine, the consequences of Russia’s missile and drone attacks,” he said