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An OSCE drone destroyed in eastern Ukraine. Paris and Berlin point the finger at Russia

(B2) French and Germans very firmly condemned, in a joint statement published this Thursday (November 1), the destruction of an OSCE long-range drone by Russians or pro-Russian forces.

The OSCE reintroduced long-range drones at the end of March (credit: OSCE – B2 archives)

A drone destroyed in rebel zone

A long-range drone from the OSCE Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (MSOU) was destroyed last Saturday (October 27). The incident took place near Nyzhnokrynske, 66 km east of Donetsk, in a rebel-controlled area near the Russian-Ukrainian border. The circumstances of the destruction leave little doubt about the perpetrator, according to Paris and Berlin.

The Franco-German couple strongly condemns

Doomed Destruction” firmly by Germany and France, members of the Normandy format. " Accountable for Attacks on MSOU Personnel and Equipment “Said a joint statement from Paris and Berlin.

A serious incident

This destruction is a serious incident in clear violation of the Mission's mandate as adopted by all OSCE participating States ". She constitutes " an unacceptable climax » which is added “ the continued interference, intimidation and restrictions on the work of the Mission's observers, who act as the eyes and ears of the international community on the ground ».

A loss of control on the night of October 26 to 27

The OSCE observation mission lost communication with its drone during the night of October 26 to 27, at exactly 1:53 a.m. The flight path of the drone is “ suddenly become unstable » says the OSCE in a special report. Thus, for 30 seconds, the drone “ lost its GPS signal, suddenly increased its altitude and deviated from its heading, after which it immediately began to collapse, rapidly losing altitude ».

A shot at the drone

According to a preliminary technical assessment made by the OSCE, “ the most probable cause of the incident is that the drone was hit by " an impact which diverted it from its flight path, " disrupted the anti-jamming system and payload power supply ". Which had probably caused the crash of the machine.

Identifying a ground-to-air site causes destruction?

The drone had taken off around 22:03 p.m. Friday (October 26) from its launch site in Stepanivka (54 km north of Donetsk, in a government-controlled area). The drone was flying in stable flight” at an altitude of approximately 7000 feet. The weather conditions were good with clear skies. » Shortly before its destruction, around 1:18 a.m., it had just spotted a surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa) east of Nyzhnokrynske. And just before its destruction it was following a convoy of seven trucks near the border with the Russian Federation. Two events which could be the cause of the destruction according to Paris and Berlin.

Russia and pro-Russian rebels in the dock

The OSCE does not point the finger at anyone. But the French and Germans do not hesitate. “ Evidence gathered by the MSOU suggests Russia and its backed separatists are responsible for targeting and shooting down the long-range drone, blinding the mission to that specific area »

OSCE drones are in the way

An event far from being isolated, the French and German diplomats jointly believe: “ Over the past few weeks, MSOU drones, while subject to intense jamming, have on several occasions observed convoys entering Ukrainian territory through an unofficial border crossing point from Russia to Ukraine. »

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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).