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US Reconnaissance Drones Replacing Ukrainian Ones Near Crimea Borders, Source Says

© Sputnik / Alexandr Polegenko / Go to the mediabankBorder crossing point on Russia-Ukraine border. File photo
Border crossing point on Russia-Ukraine border. File photo - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The activity of Ukrainian drones near Crimea borders has almost stopped since the start of 2020, but they have been replaced by US drones, such as the "Global Hawk" remotely-piloted surveillance aircraft, a source in the Crimean Republic’s security forces told Sputnik.

"Right now, on the border with Crimea, the activity of Ukrainian UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] has virtually stopped after American drones increased activity in the economic maritime zone of the peninsula. In addition, the Ukrainian side has received several tough lessons in response to the provocations of its drones near the Russian borders - they got downed right after crossing the border," the security source said.

In 2019, Ukrainian drones regularly flew near Crimean borders, trying to provoke Russian air defence responses.

"Every UAV near our air borders was escorted and in case of violation of airspace it was jammed by transmission blocking signals," the source told Sputnik.

The source explained that after American UAVs such as the "Global Hawk" started carrying out regular flights near the Crimea peninsula, conducting reconnaissance activity, Ukrainian drones virtually disappeared.

"This has to do with the fact that the Americans share some of their intelligence with the Ukrainian military," the Crimea security source told Sputnik, stressing that US drones can be intercepted but all defensive actions, such as shooting down a UAV, are prohibited over neutral waters.

Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014, after a referendum determined that over 96 percent of the peninsula's voters were in favor of reunification. Despite the vote, Ukraine still considers the peninsula to be part of its territory, referring to it as temporarily occupied. Moscow insists that Crimean residents decided to rejoin Russia through a democratic procedure in compliance with international law. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the issue of the peninsula's territorial belonging is "historically closed."

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