The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission will temporarily not use drones in the Donbas conflict zone. The reason was an accident of the SMM long-range UAV over the territory controlled by the Government of Ukraine. The press service of the Joint Forces Operation stated this.
On 17 May, the SMM was conducting an announced SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight. The UAV had taken off from its base in government-controlled Stepanivka (54km north of Donetsk) at 12:00 and had immediately experienced dual GPS signal interference, assessed as caused by jamming, which continued uninterrupted for the remainder of the flight. At 12:55, near Bakhmutske (government-controlled, 77km north of Donetsk), the SMM enabled the Emergency Control Mode over the aircraft and commanded it to return to base in Stepanivka due to the persistent dual GPS signal interference.
“At 13:45, due to the risk of a loss of spatial control, the SMM conducted an emergency landing of the UAV in a field about 200m north-east of its designated landing spot at Stepanivka. As a result of the impact, the aircraft sustained damage to its tailfin and rear fuselage. The SMM retrieved the UAV. Long-range UAV flights are now suspended pending a technical assessment, including to identify any additional damage to the aircraft,” OSCE reports.
At the same time, the headquarters of the Joint Forces Operation assures that the incident occurred due to an extensive campaign of backed separatist forces to discredit the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
"We inform that the incident occurred as a result of deliberate obstruction by the occupiers of the Mission's UAV flights," the headquarters said.
According to the Ukrainian side of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination, during April-May, almost every planned flight of the S-100 from takeoff in the village of Stepanovka was hampered by jamming. On May 17, there were active obstacles to the aircraft's control systems throughout the day, starting at 4:30 a.m. Obstacles were installed by Russian-made REB stations (Zhitel type R-330). The range of these EW stations is 60-90 km.
Since late May 7 till the evening of May 9, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission reported 186 violations of the ceasefire in Donbas combat area. In Donetsk region, the SMM registeres 163 violations of ceasefire, including 105 explosions (10 cases of detonation of ammunition, and 95 explosions of uncertain origin). Most of the incidents occurred not far from Donetsk water filtration station. In Luhansk region, the Mission registered 23 violations of ceasefire, including 15 explosions of unidentified origin. Most of the violations took place near Zolote, Popasna and Kadiivka.