‘We are saving lives’: Drones donated by Calgary businessman delivered to Ukraine

The below story appeared on Global TV on June 17, 2022.

The devastation that is taking its toll on the people in Ukraine can clearly be seen from above. Draganfly drones are able to spot survivors of the relentless bombing.

Dranganfly CEO Cameron Chell was in Ukraine this week helping get more drones in the air.

“The thing that is most prevalent is to see the incredible resolve of the Ukrainian people and how they are keen to normalize their lives.”

What really sticks out in my mind is how quickly they have cleaned areas up and how quickly they have moved to reconstruction,” Chell said from his hotel room in Kyiv.

Draganfly Inc. is a Saskatoon-based company that has donated three drone systems to Revived Soldiers Ukraine, a humanitarian organization providing aid to Ukrainians.

Chell said they are delivering primarily things like insulin, antibiotics and rape kits.

The drones are also capable of doing search and rescue, which is saving time and resources.

“Being able to find the heat signature of a human using a thermal camera on a drone is much faster than walking around at a dangerous site,” Chell said.

This week they completed deployment and training of the first two Situational Assessment Drones to Revived Soldiers Ukraine. Those drones were received by Iryna Vashchuk Discipio, president of RSU.

The Situational Assessment Drones are designed to provide crucial visual oversight during medical and disaster response situations. Those drones, combined with the Medical Response Drones, will help RSU safely provide humanitarian aid.

Five drones in Ukraine have been purchased for $500,000 by Calgary businessman Riaz Mamdani, CEO of Strategic Group. They are part of a project he established called DroneAid: Ukraine.

“I’m incredibly excited about that initiative. I know for a fact we are saving lives there today,” said Mamdani.

“I got excited about creating the entire initiative and not just writing a cheque.”

Chell predicts that some of the drones will be destroyed.

He said his time on the ground in Ukraine has been essential for building relationships and dealing with the complexities of operating in a war zone with multiple levels of coordination.

“When a drone goes up in the air, the first thing anybody wants to do, whatever side of the conflict you’re on, is to shoot it,” Chell said.

“This is complex equipment that, in the best of environments, you may lose it. So when your environment is where you have a radio jamming going on and a conflict happening and heightened adrenaline and everything else that goes on with it, there will certainly be meaningful losses of drones for sure,” Chell said.

Mamdani said the goal is to have 200 drones in Ukraine within the next three months.