Mark Hamill has helped to send 500 drones to assist Ukraine in fending off the invading Russian army, as the military conflict enters its ninth month.
The 71-year-old American actor confirmed his donations to the embattled European nation while appearing on an episode of Bloomberg Radio’s Sound On. He explained his generosity in concise terms: they need it.
“Very simply: Ukraine needs drones,” said the Star Wars star to host Joe Mathieu in an episode published on Thursday. “They define war outcomes, they protect their land, their people, they monitor the border, they’re eyes in the sky.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last month announced that the actor famously known for portraying Luke Skywalker would be joining as an ambassador in the country’s UNITED24’s “Army of Drones” project.
“He is the first ambassador to help raise funds to support our defenders, the Drone Army,” the Ukrainian president wrote on his official Instagram page last month when sharing the news. “This is a difficult yet very important mission. Mark, we are sure you will definitely handle it. Thank you for supporting the Ukrainian people in our struggle for freedom.”
Mr Hamill, for his part, said that he was “honored” to be supporting the mission, which would include raising funds to support the project that was established by the government to procure unmanned drones to assist the war effort.
Since joining that effort, Mr Hamill confirmed on the radio show that his donations have enabled the Ukrainian army to add 500 drones into its arsenal, less than a month since it was announced on 30 September that he’d be joining.
“I was really shocked because they give me these updates at least two or three times a week about what’s going on and they said they’ve received over 500 drones since I started this,” Mr Hamill said.
Outside of the Star Wars alum, the project counts many other public figures and celebrities among its donor list, including singer Barbara Streisand, American rock band Imagine Dragons and actor Liev Schreiber.
Drone warfare has become a common weapon to deploy by both sides in the ongoing conflict.
On Monday, a group of about 28 kamikaze drones were documented on social media flying over the urban infrastructure of Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. According to initial reports, Al Jazeerareported, four civilians were killed in the attack after one aircraft struck a residential building.