Will Biden support Ukraine’s attacks on Russia?

46 min listen

This week: will Biden support Ukraine’s attacks on Russia? Owen Matthews writes the cover piece in light of the Zelensky drone offensive. Ukraine’s most successful strategy to date has been its ingenious use of homemade, long-range drones, which it has used to strike military targets as well as oil refineries and petrol storage facilities in Russia. The strikes are working but have alienated the US, who draw a red line when it comes to attacks on Russian soil. Owen joins the podcast alongside Svitlana Morenets, author of The Spectator’s Ukraine in Focus newsletter to debate what comes next. (01:44) Next: Will and Lara take us through some of their favourite pieces in

Kamikaze drones are the future of warfare

The West is struggling to confront the modern military technologies of Russia, Iran and China. A year and a half of the war in Ukraine has proved it. Iran has exported cheap Shahed-136 kamikaze drones to Russia, and they have been used to terrorise Ukrainians. Putin appears ready to invest further in procuring thousands more. Sir Tony Radakin, chief of the defence staff, said this week that, in response, the British Army wants to create regiments of kamikaze drone pilots. He’s right to do so. Iran’s drones are cheap to make, estimates say around £15,000 each, but the air defences needed to shoot them down are far more expensive. This difference between how western

Portrait of the Week: Trump’s indictment, Costa’s PR fail and Niger’s new leader

Home Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, announced the granting of 100 new North Sea oil and gas licences. In Aberdeen he confirmed funding for two new carbon capture projects. Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow leader of the House, said: ‘We are not going to grant any more. It is not OK. The world is on fire.’ Sir Bob Neill, the chairman of the Commons justice committee, called for a change in rules that deduct the cost of board and lodging in jail from compensation of those unjustly imprisoned. He was responding to the case of Andrew Malkinson, 57, cleared after 17 years in prison of a rape he did not commit.

The Ukrainian war is coming to Moscow

A few hours after Ukrainian kamikaze drones struck the proud towers of the Moscow City business centre, a Muscovite friend received a cold call from her insurance company. Would she like to upgrade her home insurance to include drone attacks, a chirpy salesman asked. Another couple of friends, out for a walk in the woods not far from Vladimir Putin’s country residence at Novo-Ogaryovo, were surprised to discover a pair of Pantsir-S1 mobile anti-aircraft batteries parked by the edge of a field, their warheads pointing warily towards Ukraine. A Muscovite journalist shares a new listing for bed space in an underground garage that he has converted into a bomb shelter.

Inside Ukraine’s drone army

Kyiv ‘We will end this war with drones,’ says Mykhailo Fedorov, deputy prime minister of Ukraine. We meet at the Ministry of Digital Transformation, which he runs in Kyiv. It has become crucial to the counter-offensive. To reclaim occupied land, Ukrainian troops need to remove miles of landmines, and can do so only if kept safe by swarms of drones that fly ahead, searching for the enemy. Russia has drones too – many more of them – and is adept at jamming and downing Ukraine’s fleet. A drone arms race is under way. Soon after his election, President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the then 28-year-old Fedorov to run a new ministry

Ukraine is witnessing the future of drone warfare

Russian forces have reportedly been ordered to watch last year’s state-funded propaganda film Sky. The Kremlin-funded drama follows the lives of Russian airmen in Syria, where an estimated 18,000 people are believed to have died in Moscow’s bombings. With jets soaring through the sky and explosive special effects, it tells the story of Oleg Peshkov, a pilot shot down by a Turkish fighter plane. When Hollywood makes its own action flicks about the war in Ukraine, directors may settle for a different kind of hero. Instead of strapping military men jumping into cockpits, it is becoming increasingly clear that Kyiv owes much of the credit for its fierce defence to drones. While in

The drone era has arrived

The Ukrainian airforce has so far held out in the battle for the skies. Russia continues to rely on missiles for deep strikes into Ukrainian territory while the defenders have been able to contest the airspace by employing drones. Ukraine has proven a turning point in the age of drone warfare. The first great drone superpower, the United States, used its unmanned aerial vehicles in places like Afghanistan where few fighters had the technology to shoot them down. But Ukraine isn’t primarily using drones to hunt people, loitering over targets for days; rather, it’s using them to go after Russian armoured vehicles and supply columns. This seems like a strategy

Turkish drones are transforming the war in Ukraine

Istanbul, Turkey A cheer rings out in a secret command centre. On the screen, another Russian missile launcher has vanished in a cloud of shrapnel and smoke. Working miles behind the front line, a team of Ukrainian drone operators is trying to turn the tide of the war against the Kremlin’s forces. The most effective weapon in their arsenal is the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2. Soaring 160 meters above the battlefield, it delivers death at the push of a button. So fearsome is its reputation that it has inspired a love song that has gone viral in Ukraine and even a video game. Lightweight and with a small profile, the Bayraktars

First-rate TV: Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon Prime reviewed

I was at a party the other day when who should accost me but Jeremy Clarkson. There were lots more famous and interesting people in the room, including the surviving half of Wham!. But Clarkson was itching to talk to me about, of all things, a review I’d written of a BBC reality series called This Is My House. He was genuinely mystified as to why I’d given such tosh a favourable critique. Having just watched his new series, Clarkson’s Farm, I now understand his puzzlement. Since late 2019, Clarkson has been playing at being a farmer on his 1,000-acre Oxfordshire estate. And when you’re a farmer — even a