News

‘hero of Ukraine’  15-year-old schoolboy holds off Russian tanks using a toy drone.

Andrii Pokrasa is being hailed as a hero after he helped Ukrainian troops to pinpoint the whereabouts of an oncoming Russian convoy using his drone. 

In a country being broken apart by war, it’s hardly surprising that everyone wants to do what they can to defend their country. The civilian input has never been more important, in the war against Russia’s invasion. With more than 100,000 reservists called upon when president Zelensky drafted conscription. 

It’s heartbreaking in many respects that a 15  yeast old was tasked with using his drone to stop Russian forces from invading Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. But dire situations can call for dire measures.

Pokrasa Drone Ukraine War
Credit: Facebook

In late February, the boy’s father reached out to local defenders, after he heard that Ukrainian soldiers were desperately trying to track the position of troops and tanks heading for the capital, but did not have access to a drone in the early stages of the war, to tell them his son was skilled at flying one and might be able to help.

Pokrasa took the situation in his stride, and because of his contribution, the Ukraine army was able to stop the column of Russian military vehicles that was making its way to Kyiv in the early days of the war.  He was able to fly his drone over the Russian forces, relaying photos and coordinates to artillery units, helping to keep the capital city of Kyiv safe. 

With the help of his father, Pokrasa located the Russian convoy which his father then relayed then correlated the information to Ukrainian troops on the ground using a social media app. Ukrainian forces were able to stop the invading Russian troops near Berezivka, a city just over 24 miles from Kyiv. 

Pokrasa told Global News that executing the mission was “very, very scary” but the idea of Russian troops overtaking his home was far scarier.  “They provided us information where approximately the Russian column could be. Our goal was to find the exact coordinates and provide the coordinates to the soldiers,” Pokrasa told Global News. “It was one of the biggest columns that were moving on the Zhytomyr road and we managed to find it because one of the trucks turned on its lights for a long time.” 

 

Yurii Kasjanov, a commander with Ukraine’s unmanned recon unit, speaks with high regard for Pokrasa, speaking with Global News, he went on to say “He’s a real hero, a hero of Ukraine, he was the only one who was experienced with drones in that region.” 

The citizens of Ukraine, are all pitching in where they can, Taras Troiak, a former retailer, has since founded a Facebook group to coordinate drone owners in Ukraine who wanted to help with surveillance for the army. He told the Canadian outlet: ‘If we didn’t have such operators and drones who can help the Ukrainian army, I think Kyiv already could be occupied by Russian forces.’