Ukraine names commander of drone systems

Commander of the Unmanned Systems Forces Colonel Sukharevskyi attends a conference in Kyiv

(Reuters) - The Ukrainian military announced the appointment on Monday of a commander of drone forces, underscoring the importance of drone warfare as repeatedly stressed by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other leaders in the 27-month-old war against Russia.

A statement by the General Staff of the Armed Forces said Vadym Sukharevskyi, deputy armed forces commander, had been named to the post by order of Defence Minister Rustem Umerov. Sukharevskyi was appointed deputy commander in February with responsibility for drones.

Zelenskiy issued a decree in February calling for the creation of a separate branch of the armed forces devoted to drones and the order was endorsed last week by the government.

Last December, Zelenskiy pledged that Ukraine would produce a million of its own drones in the course of 2024.

The country's top military commander, Oleksandr Syrskyi, met in recent days with the country's most successful drone units.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski and Oleksandr Kozhukhar; Editing by Alistair Bell)