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OSCE drones grounded in eastern Ukraine (update)

(BRUSSELS2) OSCE drones are currently grounded in eastern Ukraine. Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the OSCE, confirmed this, responding to a question from B2, during an informal press briefing held this Wednesday (November 12) in Brussels. However, he was not shot down, contrary to certain information circulating in European circles. But the result is the same.

A shot from the ground without further damage

This happened on November 2, according to information given by the OSCE. “ There was indeed a shooting against one of our drones ", 2,5 km from Shirokino town at 17 km east of Mariupol. The device “was not touched. The operators were able to maneuver to bring it back to the ground », Specifies a diplomat from the organization. The OSCE refuses to name the person responsible. But everyone has a spotlight on the rebels holding eastern Ukraine. Well-trained rebels apparently...

DPR “rebels” implicated

The organization has accurate information. And the drone was deliberately targeted, it seems. “ We have photos showing a person, without acronym, aiming with a “Manpad” type weapon at our device ". And the shot came from " rebel-controlled areas » of the DPR (the Donestsk People's Republic). In addition to the shooting, the devices were the subject of a “ sophisticated jamming”. The mission carried out was also well known and identified by all the operators on site. Throughout the flight, underlines the OSCE report, « theunique identifier du transponder du drone observers, with thecall sign “UAV 308, was good visible to speed cameras Management of airspace ».

Suspended use

The use of drones above the “buffer zone” is therefore currently suspended for security reasons. The private operator, contracted by the OSCE, did not wish to further expose its device. The drone is a device “ expensive », Underlines the OSCE side. Added to this are “ bad weather conditions », fog, cold, etc. which hinder the use of drones. The devices are in the process of being upgraded” (updated) to allow their use 24 hours a day, in particular to be equipped with anti-jamming devices.

The hypothesis of using drones, of military origin, still under study, but difficult

Let us also point out that the option of using military drones is still being studied by the OSCE but faces serious difficulties: the presence of military drones presupposes the presence of military units to operate them, or even of military contingent to protect them. This requires modifying the mandate of the observer mission, the rules of engagement as well as reviewing the arrangement (MOU) concluded with Ukraine. As saying that " it is complicated “, admits Lamberto Zannier. And that " complicates the device ».

Negotiations are still underway within the OSCE. But the result does not seem immediate. Let us point out that not only France and Germany – as has been mentioned – have made an offer of services to the OSCE, but also Italy and Russia. Which certainly simplifies decision-making. It’s difficult to say “yes” to one offer while declining the others. That would be taking part. And the OSCE is keen to keep all parties on board.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Read also: OSCE drone arrives in Ukraine

(update 16 p.m.) details on the location and origin of the shots

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).