MOSCOW, October 27. /TASS/. The use of Turkish Bayraktar TB2 strike drones by the Ukrainian military in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine will further escalate the conflict in the country, Head of the State Duma Committee on Defense Andrei Kartapolov said on Wednesday.
"The use of a Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicle by the Ukrainian military (as announced by the Ukrainian General Staff) will further escalate the conflict inside Ukraine," the Committee’s press office quoted its chairman as saying.
"By now, the DPR and the LPR [the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics] have accumulated some experience of fighting drones. Following the experience of combat operations in other regions of the world, there are certain systems that can impair or disable this drone’s capabilities. I am certain that the militia fighters have already devised something," he said, stressing that the Ukrainian leadership "was once again demonstrating with such actions its unwillingness to honor the Minsk accords on settling the situation in eastern Ukraine.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces confirmed on October 26 that the military had employed a Turkish Bayraktar combat drone in the Donbass area for the first time.
The Bayraktar TB2 is a Turkish-made strike drone with a 150 km-range capability, an operating speed of 130 km/h and a 50 kg payload. It is furnished with an automatic take-off and landing system.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry announced on December 14, 2020, that it had signed a deal with Turkey on the production of corvettes and strike drones for the Ukrainian army. In 2019, Kiev purchased and tested Bayraktar drones that are intended to be furnished with MAM-L precision air bombs produced by the Turkish company Roketsan. According to unofficial data, the deal was worth $69 million.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Andrei Taran said on October 13 that the Turkish drone producer would build a maintenance and training center in Ukraine.