Maria Berlinska

Founder, Ukrainian Centre for Drone Intelligence
Age 29, Ukraine
for promoting responsible drone intelligence

About Maria Berlinska

A young woman of 26 year left her studies at Kyiv Mohyla Academy (where she was doing her master’s degree in Historical studies), found herself some body armour and ran away to the frontline at the start of military actions in Ukraine. She is one the few women in Ukraine who have experienced the ferocities of the war alongside her male compatriots. There Maria became a specialist in drones and the intelligence it acquires while at the frontline.

“I am at the frontline not to kill. And drone intelligence is what helps us identify where the danger is and save the lives”. However, along with the realization of the strategic importance of this domain, an awareness of the shortcomings of the technology in its current state became obvious to Maria Berlinska. While at the centre of military actions, she witnessed the horrifying consequences of a lack of equipment and specialists who can operate them.

Changing this was her key motivation when she started the airborne prospecting Support Center (Ukrainian Centre for Drone Intelligence). It is a volunteer organization that provides professional training courses in drone intelligence for Ukrainian soldiers. While in operation for half a year the Centre has managed to train 5 groups of specialists. All the soldiers, who arrive at the Centre, have their accommodation costs and living expenses covered. The Centre also seeks funding for the purchase of drones for the army.

“I have created this project when I realized that drone intelligence is what saves hundreds of lives at the frontline. Without it, winning is not an option. Drone intelligence is the eyes of the war. It is a possibility to see, and that means to put an end to the war faster”, says Maria Berlinska.