2 OSCE SMM's UAVs come under fire in Donbas, another one downed
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has reported on the loss of one of its long-range unmanned aerial vehicles in eastern Ukrainian Donbas, also stating that one of the UAVs has been downed near the contact line.
"At 23:51 on July 25, while flying over government-controlled Avdiivka, approximately 600m north-west of the contact line and 12.5 km north of Donetsk, an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) experienced a loss of signals with the Ground Control Station and the SMM lost all communication with the UAV," the mission's spot report says.
After 30 minutes from the loss of communication with the UAV, a Ukrainian Armed Forces liaison officer in the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) informed the SMM that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had identified a crash site.
At 08:00 on July 26, the Ukrainian Armed Forces Major General, Head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC, informed the SMM that Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers had retrieved the UAV.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces later handed over to the SMM the UAV’s tail rotor and the anti-jamming equipment that had been located in the tail.
Read alsoAlexander Hug: "We note a sustained supply of ammunition in areas not controlled by Gov't"In addition, it has been reported that at 12:48 on July 25, "the SMM conducted a flight of its mini UAV on the southern edge of “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (58 km west of Luhansk). The SMM heard four shots which it assessed as being fired from an assault rifle targeting the UAV. At the time of the incident, the UAV was flying 800 metres south-west of the launch site."
The shots were fired from a location assessed as less than one kilometer west of the SMM’s position, according to the report. On July 23, the SMM observed four artillery systems in the area. The SMM managed to land the UAV, which did not sustain any damage, and proceeded to leave the location safely.
At 14:05 on July 25, while attempting to conduct another flight with the same mini UAV south-west of “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50 km west of Luhansk), the mini UAV again came under fire approximately four minutes into its flight (some 300 meters west from the launch site), this time by eight shots from what was assessed as a pistol.
Read alsoOSCE SMM drone spots 23 tanks, 60 trucks, MLRS's in occupied DonetskThe shots were assessed having been fired from a location 300-500 meters west of the SMM’s position. The SMM was able to retrieve the UAV, which did not sustain any damage.
As the SMM was leaving the scene, it saw two armed men coming out of a wooded area. Earlier that day, the SMM observed tracks consistent with either a self-propelled howitzer (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) or an armored personnel carrier (MT-LB) leading to the wooded area. The patrol returned safely to its base in Kadiivka.
The SMM informed the JCCC about all three incidents and asked them to take follow-up action.