The Armed Forces of Ukraine received a batch of AeroVironment RQ-11B Ravens for reconnaissance missions, president Petro Poroshenko announced 28 July.

A US Air Force transport aircraft delivered the drones to Kiev, Poroshenko wrote on Facebook.

The small UAVs will help prevent violations of the Minsk ceasefire agreement, which Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany negotiated in February 2015. The agreement has amounted to a ceasefire in name only as conflicts between the Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels continue.

Ukraine has expressed an urgent demand for UAVs in the wake of the armed conflict with Russia. In September 2015, the US Army awarded a $9 million foreign military sales contract to Aerovironment for the Raven system.

In a 27 January Facebook post, Ukraine's general staff estimated the value of the Raven deliveries as $12 million.

The small UAVs will be used to increase the efficiency of Ukrainian troops and enforce the monitor terms of the ongoing ceasefire with Russia, Poroshenko says.

Earlier that March, the US approved $75 million in “non-lethal” military aid to Ukraine, which included radar, humvees and the Raven UAVs.

The 1.9kg (4.2lb) Raven can be hand-launched and provides low-altitude surveillance at a maximum range of 5.4nm (10km), according to AeroVironment.

The Raven has an 80min flight endurance and its color electro-optical cameras allow both day and night operations. The vehicle can be controlled by an operator or fly autonomously on a pre-planned route.