The Kremlin warned on October 27 that the use of Turkish-made drones could further aggravate the conflict in Ukraine, after Kyiv released footage of its military employing the weapons against pro-Russian separatists for the first time. The Defense Post reported this.
Ukraine has been fighting a trench conflict in the east of the ex-Soviet country against fighters backed by Russia since 2014, when Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula, sparking sanctions from the West.
Ukraine’s defense ministry late Tuesday published video of what it said was its first use of the Turkish-made TB2 Bayraktar drone in the conflict, targeting artillery.
“We really have special and good relations with Turkey but this case, unfortunately, confirms our concerns that the deliveries of such armaments to the Ukrainian military may potentially destabilize the situation at the engagement line,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday.
Ukraine said earlier this month it planned to build a factory to produce the drones, which Kyiv had previously purchased.
Turkey’s sale of the unmanned aircraft to Kyiv complicates its ties with Russia, which has thrown its political weight behind the Ukraine separatists.
Moscow and Ankara cooperate closely on defense, including on conflicts in Syria and Libya, and Turkey has purchased weapons from Russia, including the S-400 missile defense systems.
International monitors in eastern Ukraine, who use unmanned aircraft to report ceasefire violations, have recently said their drones were being jammed.
The conflict has claimed more than 13,000 lives and Ukraine’s military said Wednesday that one of its soldiers was killed — the second Ukrainian combat loss in two days.
Kyiv and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms to bolster the separatists, claims Moscow denies.
The Ukrainian military have deployed Bayraktar, the Turkey-made combat drone in the Donbas combat area for the first time. The UAV destroyed the cannon of Russian mercenaries.