While he’s best known for portraying Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series, Mark Hamill has recently taken on another role: ambassador for the Army of Drones. Working with Ukraine’s fundraising platform UNITED24, the actor is looking to promote the delivery of drones to the country’s military, to help in its fight against the ongoing Russian invasion.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced last month that Hamill had taken on the role and praised the Star Wars actor for his support, saying, “Mark, you have become the first ambassador to help Ukraine raise funds to support its defenders. For Ukrainians, this means a lot. As in Star Wars, good will triumph over evil and light will overcome darkness. With you in the team, there’s no other way around it.”
He’d added that, “The light will win over darkness. I believe in this, our people believe in this. Thank you for taking on this difficult mission of being the first ambassador to help Ukraine raise funds for the Army of Drones to support our defenders. It is really important!”
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) October 1, 2022
UNITED24 is a fundraising platform that was created by the Ukrainian government three months into the Russian invasion. Its aim is to raise money for the procurement of military gear and medical aid, as well as funds for the rebuilding of infrastructure. Over $180 million was raised within the first four months. Among its ambassadors are actress Barbra Streisand, actor Liev Schreiber and the band Imagine Dragons.
The Army of Drones is a project under the platform, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, and the Ministry of Digital Transformation. The priority is to source 200 scouting drones equipped with GPS, infrared cameras and mapping software, for use in monitoring the frontlines and identifying enemy positions.
The country’s military is also hoping to obtain thousands more “simpler drones,” and requires additional funds to conduct repairs, replace equipment and provide pilot training.
“In this long and unequal fight, Ukraine needs continuous support. That’s why I was honored President Zelenskyy asked me to become an ambassador for the Army of Drones,” Hamill said. “I know for certain that Ukrainians need drones to protect their land, their freedom and the values of the entire democratic world. Right now is the best time for everyone to come together and help Ukraine stand up in this war with the evil empire.”
As a result of the Army of Drones, Ukraine’s military has received 986 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and has been able to pay for 100 pilot training courses. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Hamill revealed that 500 have been delivered since he first took on his new role this past September.