U.S. calls on Russia to stop harassing OSCE monitors in Donbas
The United States has called on Russia to stop harassing the OSCE SMM in Donbas, according to State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert.
"Russia’s proxies again escalated recklessly by firing surface to air missiles at @OSCE civilian UAVs in eastern #Ukraine on June 9 & 15. Stop harassing the SMM. #Russia should support the SMM and its efforts to bring peace," Nauert tweeted.
The OSCE spot report of June 15, 2018, said an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was flying over militant-controlled Betmanove recorded a condensation trail of a missile following a ballistic trajectory at a significantly lower altitude than the UAV from the north-east.
Immediately after, the UAV recorded a surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa) (in violation of withdrawal lines) about 2km north-west of Panteleimonivka (non-government-controlled), and about 4km north-east of the area where the UAV was flying, firing a second missile in the direction of the UAV which also followed a ballistic trajectory at a significantly lower altitude than the UAV.
About three minutes later, the UAV recorded a probable anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) located near the surface-to-air missile system also firing several rounds in the direction of the UAV. The SMM assessed the fire as directed at the UAV which was returned to base safely.
The UAV transponder had been tested prior to the flight and was functional at the time of the incident. The SMM had also, as per established procedure, given notice of the UAV flight in the general area.