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‘Star Wars’ actor Mark Hamill helps get 500 drones for Ukraine

Drones (US Army/Released)
October 26, 2022

Actor Mark Hamill, famous for playing Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars” movies, is promoting a program to arm Ukraine with drones against Russia’s ongoing invasion.

The actor recently became an ambassador for “Army of Drones,” an official Ukrainian fundraising program to buy drones and train pilots to fly them, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced.

“Ukraine needs drones,” Hamill told Bloomberg. “They define war outcomes, they protect their land, their people, they monitor the border, they’re eyes in the sky.”

Since Hamill took on his new role late in September, Ukraine has received over 500 drones, he told Bloomberg on Oct. 19. 

Drones have played an increasingly important role on Ukrainian battlefields since Russia’s invasion began eight months ago. Russia has reportedly taken to using Iranian-made drones, and Ukraine recently won what may have been the first drone dogfight.

Ukraine has purchased 986 drones and 100 pilot training courses to date, according to UNITED24.

Shortly after accepting the position, the actor tweeted an image of a “Star Wars” X-Wing fighter emblazoned in Ukrainian blue-and-yellow, captioned with the Polish translation for the franchise’s catchphrase, “Let the force be with you.”

The “Army of Drones” program is run through Ukraine’s online fundraising platform UNITED24, which was created three months into Russia’s invasion.

The website states that Ukraine’s priority is to buy 200 hard-to-spot scouting drones equipped with infrared cameras, GPS and mapping software.

It also says the country is looking for thousands of “simpler” drones. Instructions are provided on how to package and ship your personal drones, new and old, to the Ukrainian military.

UNITED24’s website says it has collected a total of more than $210 million to date. 

Its other initiatives include buying gear, medical aid, and funding the eventual reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, for which $11.8 million has been allocated so far.