Supreme Court Justices Manning Machine Guns
Ukraine’s Supreme Court Justices are Shooting Down Drones
Under a rain of missiles and intermittent electricity, I stay motivated in Ukraine by the amazing people I work with. I hope you like hearing about them as much as I like meeting them. Feel free to hit “reply” and give me feedback.
The short story: Ukrainian Supreme Court Justices are a significant part of Kyiv’s defense against Iranian drones. Their ingenuity, heroism and positive energy is awe inspiring. The Ukraine Freedom Project is helping them with generators to power their search lights. If they don’t have power during a night time drone attack, a section of Kyiv goes undefended and people die.
If you would like to support these folks, but don’t have time to read this blog, click here to donate. It is quick and easy, and you get a tax deduction. Anything would help - $10, $50, $100.
And now, to coin a phrase, the rest of the story.
On February 24, the day the Russians invaded, six Ukrainian Supreme Court Justices organized 30 of their fellow judges, who in turn organized about 300 additional government officials and their friends to defend Kyiv. “Organized” may not be the right word… they found some AK-47s and ran toward the Russians.
If this conjures an image of senior citizens in black robes running down the streets of Kyiv with rifles … that is understandable.
However, with 172 judges divided into criminal, civil, administrative and commercial law, the Ukrainian Supreme Court is indeed packed. And it skews younger than ours, given the mandatory retirement age of 65.
Having helped drive the Russians out of Kyiv last spring, the Justices more recently turned to air defense. They have staked out three high-rise buildings on the outskirts of Kyiv and mounted machine guns and Soviet-era searchlights on the roof to take down Iranian drones.
It gets better.
America, Europe and much of the rest of the world have been amazingly generous in sending weapons to Ukraine. However, all the good stuff goes to the regular army. Volunteers, even Supreme Court Justices, get hand me downs from the folks at the front.
The Supreme Court Justices are using machine guns invented in 1884. The water-cooled Maxim gun is considered the first fully automatic machine gun in the world. The specific weapon I saw was of Soviet manufacture in 1944.
And they work. Mostly. The Justice in the top photo below wanted to make sure I recognized the most important tool in making the Maxim function.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the Justices took down an Iranian Shahed drone. Ukraine claims its air defenses took down 45 drones in the massive New Year’s attack, which I talked about in a previous blog.
The economics on this are fascinating. The Iranian drones are essentially flying lawn mowers. They are cheap to make, but have significant destructive power. Estimates range from $10k to $50k. Shooting them down with a $1 million surface to air missile may save lives, but it is not sustainable.
By using the world’s oldest machine gun - which probably is most valuable as a museum piece - the Justices are beating the Iranians at their own game.
As I mentioned above, the Ukraine Freedom Project is helping the Justices with generators. If they have the misfortune of experiencing a power blackout during a night time drone attack, then they can’t use their spotlights and drones get past their defenses.
It sounds trite, but people in Kyiv will die without these generators. And I can show you on a map where the people who will die live.
The generators cost $250 each. Anything you can do - $20, $50, $100 - would move the needle on getting generators to Kyiv’s defenders. And don’t forget - this will take a chunk off of your taxes.Back to Blog