Ukraine hasn’t blacklisted most manufacturers of Russia’s ‘killer drones’

Only three out of the 27 individuals and entities involved in the production of Russian Lancet kamikaze drones have been placed under Ukrainian sanctions, has learned.

Lancets are one of the most effective tools of the Russian troops on the front line, used to damage or destroy big targets such as artillery and air defence systems.

A report drawn up by the Yermak-McFaul expert group on Russian sanctions, led by the head of the Ukrainian presidential office and the US former ambassador to Moscow, shows that a number of companies manufacturing Lancet drones are still not blacklisted globally.

Out of the 27 individuals and entities identified in the report, only one — CST LLC, which is the main legal entity of ZALA AERO — has been sanctioned by Ukraine, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Ukraine also imposed sanctions on Aeroscan, which is one of the main suppliers of CST LLC and is owned by Nikita Zakharov, the son of ZALA AERO’s chief designer, Alexander Zakharov.

Its core business is aerial photography, airborne laser scanning, and remote sensing services.

The Yermak-McFaul expert group lists nine other companies involved in the production of Lancets, which are yet to be blacklisted, even by Ukraine.

Out of 16 individuals identified in the report, only Alexander Zakharov has been blacklisted by Ukraine. His wife, who is a co-owner of CST LLC, and youngest son, a PhD student of a UN institute for disarmament research, have so far avoided being sanctioned. 

"The absence of existing sanctions against these legal entities and individuals allows them to freely supply components for the production of UAVs and increase production," the report states.

Lancet kamkaze drones are very difficult to shoot down after they have been guided by a reconnaissance UAV. The Ukrainian defence forces use chain-link screens, small arms, and anti-aircraft weapons  to protect their equipment from Lancets and FPV drones.

In early July, Yurii Sak, an adviser to Ukraine's defence minister, said that Ukrainian troops urgently needed means to combat Lancets.