How to Surrender to a Drone

The Ukrainian army has released an instructional video explaining how Russian soldiers should surrender to a drone:

“Seeing the drone in the field of view, make eye contact with it,” the video instructs. Soldiers should then raise their arms and signal they’re ready to follow.

After that the drone will move up and down a few meters, before heading off at walking pace in the direction of the nearest representatives of Ukraine’s army, it says.

The video also warns that the drone’s battery may run low, in which case it will head back to base and the soldiers should stay put and await a fresh one.

That one, too, should be met with eye contact and arms raised, it says.


Posted on December 19, 2022 at 7:09 AM29 Comments


jbmartin6 December 19, 2022 7:39 AM

I think of this as just an extension of the classic person with bullhorn saying ‘come out with your hands up’

Winter December 19, 2022 8:13 AM


Some people made an effort to make surrendering “fool proof”.

Sounds like the Ukrainians, or their advisors, are thinking this through, contrary to their opponents who seem to have abandoned “thinking” as a strategy.

JonKnowsNothing December 19, 2022 8:16 AM


re: I think of this as just an extension of the classic person with bullhorn saying ‘come out with your hands up’

It is odd, that the drone doesn’t have a PA ability. Lots of police style drones do.

Sticking your hands up to an unknown operator of a drone could be just as hazardous as not doing so. Imagine the carnage. Imagine if you surrender but the drone turns out to be your own side == own goal; you’d be lucky not to face a firing squad or a hail of bullets.

Aaron December 19, 2022 10:17 AM

So long as the drone is, as @jbmartin6 said “person with bullhorn”, no big deal.
It’s PsyOps at best, an annoyance at a minimum…

…until the drone has a firearm or other weapon on it. Then ware become one sided where some will kill without prejudice because they are safe behind the remote controls, while the other side is still flesh and blood bodies in the line of fire.

Drone warfare, just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

Denton Scratch December 19, 2022 10:34 AM

This protocol assumes the drone is under human control, and isn’t some autonomous loitering weapon.

Also, Russian soldiers (“orcs”) aren’t well-liked by many Ukrainians. I think I’d be inclied to run and hide, rather than risk coming out with my hands up.

I don’t know what Ukraine does with captured prisoners; if it were down to me, I guess I’d put them to work cleaning up the cities they’ve flattened. The native Ukrainian workforce is kinda busy just now. I also don’t know what resources Ukraine has for looking after thousands of Russian prisoners.

I imagine some Russians would be willing to defect, and join the Ukrainian army. I have no idea what tasks such a defector might be assigned; I would be disinclined to arm them, and would instead assign them to a catering battallion or something.

Winter December 19, 2022 10:55 AM

@Denton Scratch

I don’t know what Ukraine does with captured prisoners; if it were down to me, I guess I’d put them to work cleaning up the cities they’ve flattened.

Basically, they are treated according to the Geneva convention. Because, the sponsors of Ukraine demand that in return for support.

barthe December 19, 2022 11:03 AM

… many Russian grunts on the front lines are miserable & disillusioned, and eager to surrender to change their desperate situation — any opportunity to surrender can be attractive.

the history of warfare has many odd instances of surrender actions by desperate soldiers.

but note that the Ukrainian government is heavily into self serving propaganda…

Winter December 19, 2022 11:34 AM


but note that the Ukrainian government is heavily into self serving propaganda…

So it is good that NGOs, Red Cross, and journalists are able to roam the free part of Ukraine.

Clive Robinson December 19, 2022 2:00 PM

@ ALL,

Remember there are two sides in a surrender and they both start off armed, and mostly they all want to go home.

During WWII it was not unknown for various sides to use a faux-surrender as an ambush stratagem. Some were actually what we would now call “suicide bombers”. All they realy achieved was the loss of more life for their own side.

Whilst surrendering has risks for both sides, but usually both sides play by the rules such as they are (flag of parole etc).

Using a drone by the accepting side is a fairly good way to take a surrender safely. Also an unarmed drone can usually be seen as such so gives confidence to those surrendering they are not going to be hurt or baddly treated.

As for the current combatants, I know people are saying the Ukranian’s would rather XXX…

Actually it’s not true. Whilst there are always a few, most Ukranian’s know the more Russiab troops they accept the surrender from and treat well, the more Russian troops that will surrender. If the Ukranian’s can get the numbers surrendering up to or above the point Putin can keep stuffing ethnic minorities into old uniforms and send them off with defective weapons as cannon fodder… The sooner this mess will end.

The thing to remember is that the Ukranians are not fighting the Russian people but a vain glorious tyrant, who is running out not just of soldiers but weapons and more importantly sensible commanders and options. Putin has lost, the only question is how it comes to an end, each day it goes on the fewer ways Putin has to save face.

Heck if I were the Ukranians I’d be dropping pairs of clean socks and bread rolls on the Russians not handgrenades… Even mobile phones with free minutes to phone home.

Why because for most soldiers the two things they want to do most are,

1, Stay healthy.
2, Go home to their loved ones.

This crap about “come home with your shield or on it” never realy was.

The saying attributed to Patton about such idiocy of,

“No dumb bastard ever won a war by going out and dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb bastard die for his country.”

Whilst partially true is not the whole story…

“The way to win a war, is not to start one, the second best is to help the other guy go home, with good memories of you to tell his grand children.”

The honest truth is,

1, Arrogant polititians start wars.
2, Good generals can bring the end to conflict.
3, Good politicians can then work hard to win the peace.

I’d like to think there was a way to stop “arrogant politicians” and there is,

1, Teach the real lessons of war.
2, Teach why trade stops wars happening.
3, Don’t vote for idiots.

It’s the third one that’s hard, when the first two are not taught.

JonKnowsNothing December 19, 2022 2:28 PM

@Aaron, All

re: until the drone has a firearm or other weapon on it

There are police drones that do have arms capability. It depends on the size of the drone on how much payload they can handle.

There are the massive drones used by the USA to flatten anyone our government doesn’t like and tiny “swarm drones” that work in concert, overwhelming the target like a wasp swarm.

The police drone I refer to, was used in South Afrika a few years ago, to quell a miner strike. Diamond and Gold mine owners cannot tolerate dissent or requests for improved conditions, pay and food. So the police were sent in to “encourage” the miners to go back to work: dogs, batons, arrests, incarcerations and The Drone.

This drone was stunning in that the picture made it to MSM. It was on the larger size of a consumer drone, prolly 24×24 inches or maybe 36×36 inches (1meter x 1 meter) in size. It was equipped with 2 way audio, video recording with RT upload. The standard drone stuff.

Then there was the extra special attachments. 4 or 5 radial arms. At the end of each arm was an interchangeable module that could hold different items, depending on what the police needed. It could fire multiple color paint balls with splatter paint so that people could be tracked down after the event. Using different colors to indicate location or position within the group. It could hold different types of automatic firing weapons with magazine storage and feeders. The guns had automatic targeting ability. The system has plenty of gyros and stabilizers. There were a bunch of modules that could be loaded on the arms with a simple swap out.

I do not recall if the police used the guns on the miners. The batons, arrests and mistreatment works today as well as it did yesterday or perhaps lessons from history prevailed.


The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919

A large peaceful crowd had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh (garden)…

In response to the public gathering, the temporary Brigadier general, R. E. H. Dyer, surrounded the protesters with his Gurkha, Baloch, Rajput and Sikh from 2-9th Gurkhas, the 54th Sikhs and the 59th Scinde Rifles of British Indian Army. The Jallianwala Bagh could only be exited on one side, as its other three sides were enclosed by buildings. After blocking the exit with his troops, he ordered them to shoot at the crowd, continuing to fire even as the protestors tried to flee. The troops kept on firing until their ammunition was exhausted.[

htt ps://en.wikipedia.o rg/wiki/Jallianwala_Bagh_massacre

(url fractured)

A similar box-canyon police action took place in Los Angeles, California, not too many years ago. A well known journalist, inside the shelter of a store reporting on the police action was shot in the head with either a tear gas canister or lethal round fired from the street into the store. The police continued to fired into the crowd, herded into the single exit area. The police said they were very sorry.

Winter December 19, 2022 2:41 PM

Ukraine has had coordinated policies to motivate Russian soldiers to surrender wolith their weapons.

Russian soldier gets $10K from Ukraine in money-for-tank deal


I Want To Live, Hotline Service for Russian Soldiers Who Want to Surrender

Ukraine war: The surrender hotline for Russian soldiers

Entire divisions of Russian army are surrendering and over a million people have used Ukrainian website “I Want To Live”

JonKnowsNothing December 19, 2022 2:42 PM

@Winter, All

re: Basically, they are treated according to the Geneva convention. Because, the sponsors of Ukraine demand that in return for support.

Ah… that’s a pretty strong statement.

It might well be true that the only thing holding the UKR back from “Take No Prisoners” is some of the “Sponsors of War” wouldn’t like the TV-MSM ratings.

I’d much rather think that UKR is treating captive soldiers according the the Geneva convention because they want their own captive soldiers to be treated the same way.

The USA doesn’t particularly follow this “great idea”, we just performed another extrajudicial rendition. Lucky for the guy, he isn’t in Gitmo.

HowToWriteGood December 19, 2022 4:39 PM


Are you referring to this?

htt ps://

htt ps://

htt ps://én_Salazar

Poverty is funny. One can accept it indefinitely if one figures out how to survive. But put that survival in doubt with conscription for a war that cannot be called a war and then revolt, insurrection and disobedience becomes part of the new survival plan. The Russian leadership knows all of this. Yet they choose to place a disproportionate burden on the marginalized when conscripting. What does that choice tell us?

Ted December 19, 2022 9:50 PM

I also hope surrendering with drones becomes more feasible. Although I could see this endeavor being a treacherous experience for both parties.

The video instructs Russians to call a hotline to arrange a time and place for surrender. I don’t know how difficult it would be to eavesdrop on this exchange. And now there’s a 10 year prison sentence for Russians who surrender or refuse to fight. And on the flip side, the Ukrainians have to hope the Russian soldiers aren’t armed or plotting a ruse.

If I awoke as a Russian in this unfortunate time, my first thought would be to leave Russia. I’d certainly consider all my options for staying out of the death zone. Zelensky said surrendering Russians could ask not to be sent back in an exchange. I think I would take my chances in Ukrainian hands.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons December 20, 2022 1:42 AM

Immediacy of the mind trapped me again…

I would understand it to be the same side of the coin, as minted by Obi Wan, “These are not the drones you are looking for…”

Winter December 20, 2022 2:09 AM


I’d much rather think that UKR is treating captive soldiers according the the Geneva convention because they want their own captive soldiers to be treated the same way.

Recent (and not so recent) history makes this a pipe dream. The defining aspect of Russian warfare is that they do not follow rules of civility or humanity. Their SOP is terror, towards their own soldiers and towards the enemy. As such they have not developed their art of war much from tamerlan.

If terror does not work, their only response is more terror.

JonKnowsNothing December 20, 2022 2:44 AM


re: the treatment of captured or surrendered soldiers

Ah…. your statement is rather breath taking, because if you re-parse your earlier statements, you are implying that such brutality would be done by UKR as their only hold back is Western Money and Armaments.

Money buys many things. Morality is not one of them.

Brutality and all that goes with it, the desire to inflict pain, suffering, anguish, revenge, humiliation, devastation, slaughter has no Nationality.

It belongs solely to Humans. Yet only Humans can turn away from such things.

The problem is Choice. Yours and yours alone.

That is the meaning of the Weight of a Feather…


Search Terms

Maat or Maʽat
Weighing of the Heart
Judgment of the dead

Clive Robinson December 20, 2022 3:16 AM

@ Winter, JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

Re : Tyranical idiocy

As we all know “strong men” have to posture, from being half naked on a horse barebacking through chopping entire families up with axes because… well just because they can.

“Their SOP is terror, towards their own soldiers and towards the enemy. As such they have not developed their art of war much from tamerlan.”

And pointless vindictive retribution for imagined slights.

During WWII quite a few Russian military fought the “common enemy” from Britain with British and American armed forces.

However on returning home, many never got that last mile… They were rounded up and treated worse than criminals.

It would appear that as you say nothing has changed “Terror with more terror on the side” is the dish of the day every day for many “non pure Russians”.

The notion of an overlord aristocracy debauching themselves and every one else as “peasant stock” to be hunted and abused at will appears not to have changed in more than a thousand years. Probably longer who knows few were literate, so records are few.

The thing is that “overlord” lifestyle was brutal short and mostly full of pain. Death came early simply because of minor disease, injury and other self inflicted lifestyle failings. Trapped by ignorance, stupidity and paranoia they rotted into drunkness, easily preventable disease and madness.

Lets be honest who would want to give up an even very modest Western life style for that sort of brutish paranoid “status”?

But people do, and not just from Russia, parts of South America and areas of the Middle East and Africa…

Winter December 20, 2022 3:28 AM


Ah…. your statement is rather breath taking, because if you re-parse your earlier statements, you are implying that such brutality would be done by UKR as their only hold back is Western Money and Armaments.

War makes monsters of men and women. How can we expect men and women in the trenches to remain human in the sight of exploding bodies and gruesome acts?

The only way known is to have strong incentives that reward humanity and punish barbarism. The important part is not the reward or punishment, but the example that humanity is valued.

For this to work, the higher echelons must have a reason to bother with encouraging humanity and discouraging barbarism. The higher echelons always tend to work according to “the aim justifies the means”, to look the other way. That is how, eg, the torture and murder by US soldiers is justified (Abu Graib, the killing of journalists Manning published).

I suspect, without any evidence, that Ukraine would not make much of war crimes against Russian soldiers if it was not the sensitivity of the EU on this point. Not because Ukrainians are monsters, but because war makes monsters out of people. It did make monsters out of my country men fighting in the colonies, so why should it not do so with those fighting in the East now?

Clive Robinson December 20, 2022 4:56 AM

@ name.withheld…,

“Immediacy of the mind…”

Ahh, but from whence the memory…

I find my cultural memories, have like their owner aged and what once would have caused a knowing nod or smile or groan of shared culture now sadly produces blank or vacant looks…

But worse is the loss of technical culture, that is truely scary…

Yesterday I “did Winter Solstice lunch” with my son at the Chinese Buffet (a family tradition) and we started talking about the resource issue of “getting off this rock” whilst we still had resource capacity to do so (the window is maybe a hundred years within our current capabilities).

I pointed out that due to the fact we are at the bottom of a very deep gravity well, our best bet currently[1] is small self replicating robots “launched by gun” to use the abundent energy up there to process raw materials at the top of the gravity well. Thus minimize the vast resources required to get payload up from Earth.

To say “gun launch” produced a blank look of incomprehension was an understatment. I explained that “gun launch” cost about 1/30th of the “fuel costs” per kg of load for a 100-200kg load and that as it was effectively “all in the gun” it was fully reusable with no multi-stage burn up or relanding weight etc making it even more cost effective. Also and importantly it took only about an hour to reload to relaunch, and weather was rarely an issue.

To say my son thought I was “blowing smoke up…” would be mild compared to his looks of disbelief. So I told him about Project HARP and the later Project Babylon work of Canadian Proffessor Dr Gerald Bull and how certain “on the take” Canadian Politicians not only killed off the AVRO Arrow in the 1950’s but HARP as well. But worse “arranged” to have him “jailed”in the US and took away his Birthright Citizenship. Then as Dr Bull gathered evidence of his innocence and was about to put UK and US IC in the spotlight… How Dr Bull was found dead outside his flat with five bullets in his back in 1990 (Mossad was blaimed at the time but later evidence questions this “fed to the MSM” assumption[2]).

And how one of the most promising minimum resource payload lift ideas got killed with Dr Bull…

Oh also have you noticed how satellites / robots are getting very small these days, way smaller than those ideas in StarWars.

Just for fun a few years back I built a Lego Technics Robot connected to a PC that could build Lego brick walls as “an ammusmant” so I know the “self replicating” mechanics are easily possible from “stock parts” and anyone who has seen a fully automated PCB assembly system can see they have real worth. I also later helped build a 3D-Printer that was used to print out stock parts for a number of other 3D-Printers, showing that self replication had advanced beyond “trivial”. What we need to get on and crack is self replicating “mining-refining” to make “feed-stock” to feed 3D-Printers and similar to make standard parts. As for satellites the smallest prototype I’ve made sofar is about half the voume of a “match-book fold” basically a rechargable coin-cell with a flexible surface mount PCB with a couple of solar cells and a small bar magnet. The hard part was not the design or build of the satellite, but designing a payload release device to meet “spec”.

What would be nice is if somebody would do a “technology tester/demonstrator” to “space certify” small lithium ion rechargable batteries. What many don’t know is that the Achilles heal of lithium ion technology is trying to charge below around 4C kills the cell, even though discharge temp minimums are a lot lower than this. Whilst it does get very cold in space it also gets corespondingly warm, and the average tempratures are well inside the lithiun ion curves. Lithium ion tech is sometimes called “fire in a pocket” because the energy density is sufficient to cause them to catch fire if they get damaged. But on an energy density to weight and store to discharge energy efficiency they are hard to beat currently. So for short lived micro to pico sats for VLEO they would be very usefull.

[1] Space elevators are a nice idea, but we do not “yet” have even remotely close to the materials technology to do it. But also getting the first elevator “up” from the bottom of the well would need more resources than we realistically could spare…

[2] The Israeli IC was fully aware of what Dr Bull was upto, not just from their own “investigations” but what the UK and US IC were telling them (and it would appear corrupt and compromised Canadian politicians as well) and that the so called “super-gun” was not a weapon of war and could be destroyed in just a single fighter-bomber attack. It was as described a space-launch system. Also Iraq had Scud missile technology that was way way more effective for warfare. The “scary scary big gun” story apparently came from an Iraqi defector of the same ilk as that who told the fabricated “yellow cake” stories (basically making it up for money and a good life in the USA, something the CIA has a bad track record for falling for).

Winter December 20, 2022 5:29 AM


How Dr Bull was found dead outside his flat with five bullets in his back in 1990 (Mossad was blaimed at the time but later evidence questions this “fed to the MSM” assumption[2]).

You forget to mention that Dr Bull was helping Saddam Hussein to build a super cannon.
(Note, I do not want to suggest in any way that this murder (any murder) was justified in any way.)

Clive Robinson December 20, 2022 5:57 AM

@ Winter,

“You forget to mention that Dr Bull was helping Saddam Hussein to build a super cannon.”

Are you refering to something other than Project Babylon?

The link you give is from “BBC Future” is actually a private company “privacy slurper” that I’ve found before requires you to enable things I’m not going to enable like “third party cookies”.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons December 20, 2022 6:28 AM

@ Clive

Talking about scary, you mentioned half a dozen project areas I’ve been directly involved in. Some clues include “Let go of my Eggo” or I will harp on until you are lifted to heaven. And who is this guy named Mossad? Have I met him in passing? Haifa is miles from where I live, but no lat/longs.

Winter December 20, 2022 7:43 AM


Are you refering to something other than Project Babylon?

Probably not, as Wikipedia has the same story. I also remember this story from our national news.

At that time, Israel and Iraq were close to war if the distance would not have prevented direct contact, and a super-gun with out-of-atmosphere balistic properties in the hands of Iraq would be a threat for Israel.

And if Israel would have thought Mr Bull could also be in contact with any of the other Israeli enemies in the region, assassination attempts by Israeli agents was entirely expected.

Btw, a cannon shot to the moon is not exactly a new concept.

lurker December 20, 2022 12:55 PM

20 December is observed in Russia as the Day of Officers of State and National Security. Their leader’s speech for the occasion can be read on the ‘net. It is a dismal text.

Paul January 24, 2023 10:24 AM

Couldn’t a Russian soldier have a tracking device (cell phone?) hidden in their clothing, follow a drone to a Ukrainian military base, that base is then targeted by a Russian drone? One dead Russian soldier is a tragedy, dozens of dead Ukrainian soldiers are a statistic, ala Stalin.

JonKnowsNothing January 24, 2023 11:44 AM

@Paul, All

re: follow a drone to a Ukrainian military base

It depends on the size of the drone.

Many smaller drones are field launched.

Big laser guided missile drones, such as the USA uses in the ME and Asia, are launched from a number of global sites, like the BIOT Chagos Islands, Diego Garcia Air Base located on land leased from UK and taken by the UK from their indigenous owners for that purpose. The control sites are in Germany and California.

So in some cases the control and take off zones are known: Air Bases. Remote launch sites probably aren’t worth too much bother as they will be IDed the same way that missile and artillery launch positions are noted.

It’s not like the armies don’t know where the other side is located. They may not know too far in advance where the next move will be, but they certainly have a good idea. Field forces don’t move that far in a short time.

To move ground troops at speed, it takes a General Patton to march them towards Berlin in quick time, taking all territory in front of them. (1) Mikhail Skobelev (2) Siege of Plevna and Battle of Shipka Pass are note worthy in how to move ground troops in a time before people had to ride in armoured troop carriers.



htt ps://en.wikipedia.o rg/wiki/George_S._Patton

  • Between becoming operational in Normandy on August 1, 1944, and the end of hostilities on May 9, 1945, the Third Army was in continuous combat for 281 days. In that time, it crossed 24 major rivers and captured 81,500 square miles (211,000 km2) of territory, including more than 12,000 cities and towns. The Third Army claimed to have killed, wounded, or captured 1,811,388 German soldiers, six times its strength in personnel.
  • An example of Patton’s sarcastic wit was broadcast when he received orders to bypass Trier, as it had been decided that four divisions would be needed to capture it. When the message arrived, Trier had already fallen. Patton rather caustically replied: “Have taken Trier with two divisions. Do you want me to give it back?”

Search Terms

General Mikhail Skobelev

Siege of Plevna
Battle of Shipka Pass

  • British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery assessed Skobelev as the world’s “ablest single commander” between 1870 and 1914

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