Self-Proclaimed Donbass Republic Says Prevented Ukrainian Artillery Strike By Intercepting Drone

© Sputnik / Andrei Stenin / Go to the mediabankDonbass militia
Donbass militia - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.02.2022
Moscow has repeatedly objected to Western nations supplying Kiev with advanced armaments, arguing that it could prompt the Ukrainian government to use force to solve its domestic conflict in the east. Kiev also recently bought several combat drones from Turkish defence companies.
Forces of the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR), one of the two self-proclaimed republics in Donbass, intercepted a Ukrainian military drone that they planned to use to guide artillery fire with, LPR officials have stated.
"The enemy launched a ‘LELEKA-100’ unmanned aerial vehicle in the area of the Popasnaya settlement [under Kiev's control]. [This drone is] capable of transmitting a video image in real time, determining the exact geographical coordinates, and transmitting them to a fire control centre", the LPR said in its statement.
LPR officials also said that they had detected the deployment of Ukrainian artillery forces and a mortar platoon to firing positions near the Kiev-controlled village of Novoaleksandrovka.
The joint efforts of the LPR’s air defences and electronic warfare units allowed the self-proclaimed republic's forces to land the drone on territory under Lugansk's control, the statement said.
The use of artillery would violate the existing ceasefire regime, while the use of military aircraft, including drones, near the line of contact is prohibited by the Minsk agreements. The settlement of Popasnaya is located several kilometres away from this line, surrounded by 15-kilometre-wide buffer zones where artillery can't be deployed.
The two Ukrainian regions proclaimed independence in 2014 following a West-backed coup in Kiev that brought a nationalist government to power, prompting fears in the Russian-speaking territories that their rights could be infringed upon. The new government and its Western allies accused Russia of sending its military to fight in the self-proclaimed republics, but the Kremlin has strongly denied these unsubstantiated allegations.
The warring sides signed the so-called Minsk agreements back in 2015, which laid out a roadmap to achieve peace in Donbass via certain actions on both Kiev's and the self-proclaimed republics' sides. However, the new Ukrainian authorities have systematically ignored their responsibilities under the accord, hindered their implementation, or outright violated them. Moscow has repeatedly urged Western countries to pressure Kiev into fulfilling them, but they have so far ignored these calls.
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