KOLONSCHYNA, Ukraine (AP) — As Russian tanks and vans rumbled near their village, a Ukrainian teenager and his father stealthily launched their small drone into the air.
Working as a workforce, they took fowl’s-eye images of the armored column moving toward Kyiv and pinpointed its coordinates, swiftly messaging the valuable data to the Ukrainian navy.
Inside minutes, artillery batteries rained shells down on the invading forces, with lethal impact.
Andriy Pokrasa, 15, and his dad, Stanislav, are being hailed in Ukraine for his or her volunteer aerial reconnaissance work within the early days of the invasion, when Russian troops barreling in from the north made an ultimately failed attempt to take the capital and produce the nation to its knees.
For a full week after the Feb. 24 invasion, the pair made repeated sorties with their drone — risking seize or worse had Russian troops been conscious of their snooping.
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“These were some of the scariest moments of my life,” Andriy recounted as he demonstrated his piloting skills for an Associated Press team of journalists.
“We provided the photos and the location to the armed forces,” he said. “They narrowed down the coordinates more accurately and transmitted them by walkie-talkie, so as to adjust the artillery.”
His father was comfortable to depart the piloting to the boy.
“I can operate the drone, but my son does it much better. We immediately decided he would do it,” Stanislav Pokrasa, 41, stated.
They are not certain what number of Russian targets have been destroyed utilizing data they offered. However they noticed the devastation wrought on the Russian convoy after they later flew the drone again over the charred hulks of vans and tanks close to a city west of Kyiv and off a strategically necessary freeway that results in the capital.
“There were more than 20 Russian military vehicles destroyed, among them fuel trucks and tanks,” the daddy stated.
As Russian and Ukrainian forces battled furiously for management of Kyiv’s outskirts, Ukrainian troopers lastly urged the Pokrasa household to depart their village, which Russian troops subsequently occupied.
With all grownup males as much as age 60 underneath authorities orders to remain within the nation, the elder Pokrasa could not be a part of his spouse and son after they fled to neighboring Poland.
They got here again just a few weeks in the past, when Andriy had completed his faculty yr.
“I was happy that we destroyed someone,” he stated. “I was happy that I contributed, that I was able to do something. Not just sitting and waiting.”
AP journalist John Leicester contributed to this report from Kyiv, Ukraine.
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