Drone strikes hit Moscow and Kyiv -- in the growing world of drone warfare, anything goes when it comes to international law
At least eight drone strikes hit Moscow in the early morning of May 30, 2023, damaging several buildings and injuring civilians.
- At least eight drone strikes hit Moscow in the early morning of May 30, 2023, damaging several buildings and injuring civilians.
- This follows Russia’s targeting residential buildings in Ukraine with a wave of drone attacks in late May, killing civilians.
- Today, drones are used in various other conflicts but are also used to deliver packages, track weather and entertain drone hobbyists.
A buying spree
- Terrorists have also been known to deploy drones because they are relatively low-cost weapons with high degrees of civilian damage.
- Consumer drone shipments, globally, topped 5 million units in 2020 and are expected to surpass 7 million by 2025.
- Each country is free to decide when and where drones fly, without answering to any other country or international authority governing drones.
- China is increasingly using sophisticated drones for covert surveillance, especially in international waters to patrol the disputed islands in the South China Sea.
- Its expanding drone program has influenced other countries like the U.S. to also invest more in the technology.
- And South Korea is considering starting a special drone unit after it failed to respond to a recent North Korean drone incursion.
No rules in the air
- The countries with armed drones are individually navigating their own rules instead of an international agreed-upon set of regulations.
- International law prohibits the use of armed force unless the United Nations Security Council authorizes an attack, or in the case of self-defense.
- Figuring out the national and international rules of the sky for drone usage is hard.
US and drones
- The U.S. killed a top al-Qaida leader with a drone strike in Afghanistan in 2022.
- But there have been other instances of drone strikes that resulted in unintended casualties and damage.
- There is scant public opinion research on how American feel about the use of drones overseas, which makes building public support for their military use difficult.
- Drone dangers are real.
- Traditional radar detection has grown more sophisticated with new drone detection platforms to more accurately decipher the exact location of the drone operator.
- In my view, the world needs new and consistent rules on drone usage for the decade ahead – better international monitoring of drone incursions and more transparency in the outcome of drone attacks.