- Videos show netting strung between lampposts in an apparent Russian attempt to stop drone attacks.
- In one widely shared video, a drone simply flew over the netting and hit its target anyway.
- Netting is a centuries-old tactic that has made a renewed appearance on the battlefield in Ukraine.
Videos are circulating online that appear to show Russian efforts to block Ukrainian drone attacks in or near Bakhmut using simple netting hung up between lampposts.
The tactic seems to have had mixed results, with one video clearly showing a drone’s eye view as the unmanned aircraft easily passes over the flimsy barrier and slams into an armored vehicle.
It’s unclear exactly when the footage was taken, but it was shared on social media platform X on Tuesday by Ukrainian-American commentator Igor Sushko.
After the drone’s-eye-view feed cuts out, supporting footage taken from a distance shows a plume of flame and smoke.
Another video, shared by Center for Naval Analyses advisor Samuel Bendett, shows a driver’s point of view as a car passes underneath rows of strung netting near the eastern city of Bakhmut.
Some of the netting is broken or tangled, suggesting it may have successfully blocked at least one drone.
Speaking to The Economist in May, Bendett said that the use of nets to ward off drones in Ukraine is increasing, although it’s unclear how widespread it is.
Both Russia and Ukraine have made extensive use of cheap, hobby first-person view drones, loaded with explosives — to sometimes devastating effect, as Insider’s Ryan Pickrell reported.
FPV drones are guided by an operator who sees the drone’s view through a headset.
As the first video shows, netting can in some instances provide little more than an obstacle to be dodged by the drone operator. In his post on X, Sushko called them “cope nets,” using a slang term for a delusional tactic.
But, according to The Drive, it’s not entirely pointless: drone operators often follow roads as they hone in on their targets, and can potentially get tangled once committed to a high-speed, shallow attack run.
And while the netting is flimsy, it might well be sturdy enough to stop small, light FPV drones.
Barrier nets are far from a new tactic. They’ve been used for centuries to try to stop everything from torpedo attacks to boarding marines in the age of sail, as The Economist reported.
In December last year, Ukrainian troops near Bakhmut were seen installing protective nets over US-supplied M777 Howitzers, as Ukrainian outlet Militarnyi reported at the time.