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After Ukraine’s First Bayraktar Drone Attack, Rebels Allege Minsk Violation

The Ukrainian military destroyed a howitzer with a Turkish-made Bayraktar drone following the killing of a soldier by Russia-backed separatists on Tuesday.

Rodion Miroshnik, who represents the Lugansk People’s Republic, was quoted by TASS as saying that Kyiv violated the 2014 Minsk Agreement, which bans the use of foreign unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and combat aircraft along the “line of contact” between Ukrainian soldiers and the rebels.

“The Ukrainian military declares in a deliberate and even demonstrative fashion that they are violating the Minsk Agreements,” Miroshnik said.

Ukrainian Military Statement

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces stated that a battery of D-30 howitzers fired at the joint forces in Hranitne, Zhytomyr Oblast in the afternoon, injuring two soldiers, one of whom died later. Following the incident, a ceasefire was requested by Ukrainian forces. There was no response by the rebels, leading to the UAV strike.

According to the statement, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces ordered the drone strike to force the ceasefire. It added that the drone didn’t cross the “line of contact” during the operation. Media reports suggested that Bayraktar fired a guided missile at the target.

Seven-Year Conflict

The incident comes on the heels of the killing of four Ukrainian soldiers in clashes with the separatists in June and another less than a month ago. Ukrainian armed forces have been in conflict with the separatists in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions since Russia took over the Crimean peninsula in 2014. The war has claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Ukraine signed a deal in 2019 to procure Bayraktar TB2 drones for its military. Last month, the eastern European country signed another contract to build the UAVs domestically

The Bayraktar

Produced by the Turkish company Baykar, the Bayraktar UAV is capable of remotely controlled and autonomous operation. It’s used for intelligence, surveillance, and offensive operations.

The drone is armed with anti-tank missiles, precision-guided missiles, and laser-guided rockets and can fly up to 220 kilometers (136 miles) per hour and stay in the air for up to 27 hours.

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