Russia is training Hamas terrorists to use deadly First Person View drones which could be used to target any Western leader, Ukraine-based experts have warned.
The increasingly prevalence of so-called drone warfare has been apparent in the 20 months since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion on February 24.
And the widespread availability of relatively simple and inexpensive technology raises the spectre of deadly attacks way beyond the battlefield.
Drones were initially weaponised by Azerbaijan as part of their strategy to bring the Nagorno-Karabakh region back under their control after a rebellion by Armenian separatists.
Since the start of the Ukraine-Russia war, their use has been stepped up, with both sides using them to devastating effect.
More recently, Hamas used drones to destroy Israeli border defence during the terror attack on October 7 in which more than 1,400 people died and 200 more were taken hostage.
In one widely circulated clip, a drone was shown apparently dropping a grenade on an Israeli main battle tank, and Andriy Cherniak, a representative of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Directorate, detected the fingerprints of Moscow.
He told Politico: “Only we and the Russians know how to do this – and we definitely did not teach them.”
Ruslan Belyaiev, head of the Dronarium military academy, explained: “No one is immune from such attacks.
“In theory, a specialist with my level of expertise could plan and execute an operation to liquidate the first persons of any European state. Pandora’s box is open.”
Pavlo Tsybenko, the facility’s acting director, said even though Russia previously lagged, it was now catching up and “scaling up” Ukraine’s methods.
Putin’s forces now had “countless” FPV drones with which they can target single soldiers, he explained, and its own production lines – albeit with many components sourced from China.
Additionally Russia was developing tactics to deploy drones in “swarms”, Mr Tsybenko said.
He explained: “One manager and all the others will repeat the movement.
“This controlled pack is a very big threat on the battlefield.”
Speaking earlier this month, Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, was convinced Hamas’ expertise with drones was the result of Russian training.
He explained: “Everyone could see the video on social networks – completely, let’s say, natural for our region and completely unnatural for the Middle East tactic, when FPV drones were used against armoured vehicles.
“This is the know-how of our war after all. No one other than people who passed through our theatre of war could do such a thing. Since we were not there, it means that it was the Russians.”
Mr Budanov also pointed out that a week before the attack, Russian television station Sputnik began broadcasting in Arabic in the Lebanon.
Additionally, on September 24, a Russian spacecraft capable of conducting radio-electronic reconnaissance and intercepting satellite signals was moved into Israel’s geostationary orbit, he claimed.
Mr Budanov added: “Let me remind you that in the period from September 22 to 24, there was an official visit of the Russian military delegation to Iran.
“We know that there were several, shall we say, wishes from the Iranian side. One of them concerned the expansion of intelligence capabilities.
“It is now clear what intelligence information the Russians began to provide to all interested parties. I emphasise that it is not Iran alone, but all interested parties.”