Ukraine’s internet army of ‘fellas’ buy sea drone to hunt Russian ships – and name it after celebrity raccoon | World News

Ukraine has a new weapon that could help protect its cities from missiles — and it’s named after a famous raccoon.

For months NAFO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has been waging an information war on social media against Russian propaganda, and raising millions of dollars for Ukrainian forces.

These guys, as they’re known, are a rowdy band of online comrades with a nose for dog memes. Easily recognized by their Shiba Inu profile pictures..

So when Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s United24 initiative asked if NAFO wanted to raise money to pay for naval drones — and give it a name — he was quick to bite.

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The challenge to Felis is part of United 24’s quest to assemble a fleet of 100 maritime drones, after which Ukraine Says there was one Attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in October Especially the use of unmanned aircraft.

It took Phyllis just a few weeks to raise the $250,000 (£205,000) needed for one such drone, which he calls the Raccoon’s Revenge.

Why that name? It is like a long tail.

As the Russian forces Kherson is ready to withdraw from the city in the face of Ukrainian aggression. Last month, bizarre footage surfaced showing animals being stolen from a local zoo, including a raccoon.

A Telegram channel is dedicated to ‘The Raccoon of Kherson’, which was taken from the city’s zoo.

Since then, “The Raccoon of Kherson” has become a celebrity on Russian social media and is used as a mascot by Russian paratroopers.

Clearly people believe the raccoon hasn’t forgotten its Ukrainian roots, and the moniker Raccoon’s Revenge beat out names including HMS Bonquerer and Aqua Bonker 9000 in a recent poll of more than 11,000 people.

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The video, shared by Ukrainian media, shows maritime drones attacking Russian warships in Sevastopol in October.

Funds collected by NAFO partners supporting Ukraine

“I was partial to HMS Bonqueror myself, but Racoon’s Revenge was the choice of the community,” Pat, a US Army veteran and current mate, told Sky News.

He added: “If a Russian warship is taken out by a drone funded by NAFO, it may be difficult to rise above the level of humor in this war.

“And with thousands of mortars and artillery shells, dozens of vehicles and artillery pieces that we’ve sponsored, and all the rest, that’s a pretty high bar to clear.”

Pete also helps run Forge – a team of designers who create custom ‘fela’ avatars for people who donate to Ukraine.

He added: “I want to highlight the people at Forge who are responsible for creating diverse, highly creative profile pictures for Donation.

“Without them, all of this would be impossible. They are truly the glue that holds it together, and without them, Kama and I could not have survived.”

Dog memes raise $1m for Ukraine's military through NAFO.  Photo: @Official_NAFO/@fellarequests
They are NAFO and they are here to troll Russian politicians and collect money for Ukraine. meet friends Photo: @Official_NAFO/@fellarequests

NAFO has already raised huge sums – by some accounts a million dollars – for the Ukrainian military and their tongue-in-cheek humor has proven popular online.

Their slogans and slogans are visible everywhere, including the paint on a 2S7 Pion self-propelled gun called “Super Bonker 9,000”.

United 24 said on Twitter: “You did it, you brilliant dogs!

“As of this morning, $255,546 has been raised for the #NAFOdrone!

“Thanks to every guy for making this happen, for every #nafofleet, for every donation. Raccoon’s Revenge is non-negotiable, thanks to each and every one of you.”

Read more:
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What are maritime drones useful for?

So what are naval drones like the Recon’s Revenge, and have they been used in combat before?

Russia says 16 naval drones were involved in an attack on a Black Sea fleet near the Crimean port of Sevastopol in October, in which two ships were damaged.

United 24 claims that three Russian ships were damaged, including the flagship Admiral Makarov.

An example of naval drone Ukraine is crowdfunding.  Photo: Muttahida 24
An example of naval drone Ukraine is crowdfunding. Photo: Muttahida 24

The naval drones funded by United 24 are 5.5 meters long, have a range of up to 800 kilometers (500 miles) and can carry a payload of up to 200 kilograms.

Missiles fired from Russian warships have been part of Moscow’s destruction of Ukraine’s power networks that have left cities in darkness – so Ukraine hopes naval drones can disrupt the ships.

Speaking to Sky News earlier, US Army Lt. Col. and drone warfare expert Paul Lushenko said that maritime drones “Just Another Point of View” to Target Russian Assets.

“These days there are only so many target acquisition systems on even these magnificent boats.

“And so when you have so many talents, how do you prioritize goals?”

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