VIENNA, October 20. /TASS/. A regular round of consultations on using drones supplied by Russia and the EU countries to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Monitoring Mission in Ukraine is scheduled for Wednesday, October 22, an OSCE official told TASS on Monday.
Two rounds of such consultations were held earlier. The parties continue discussing all nuances for using drones, the official said.
A diplomatic source at one of the delegations said physical security of drones had become the “stumbling block.”
The mission’s existing mandate envisions the presence of only civilian personnel, it said.
On Friday, October 17, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said at the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Milan that several EU countries and Russia were ready to hand over drones and military personnel for their service under the OSCE control.
Earlier, France and Germany said they were ready to supply their drones to the OSCE Mission.
On October 10, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany notified the OSCE it was ready to send drones and military escort to Ukraine. Steinmeier said that an “armed escort” for the teams operating the unmanned aircraft would be required if the mission were to go ahead, saying both Berlin and Paris had made this clear when suggesting the deployment to the OSCE.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko allowed the OSCE monitors to use drones in the east of the country.
Poroshenko and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter also agreed to increase the number of monitors and provide them with better technical means for monitoring and verification.
The OSCE Secretariat earlier said that the drones would be used to monitor the Ukrainian-Russian border and in compliance with the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk on September 5.
The sides agreed that the drones will be supplied by the Austrian company Schiebel. It will provide two S-100 vertical take-off and landing drone systems, a control station, six operators, and three mechanics.