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July 28, 2014

OSCE to deploy drones to monitor situation in Ukraine

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is likely to deploy drones to support its special monitoring mission (SMM) in the disputed region of south-east Ukraine.

By Prasanth Katam

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is likely to deploy drones to support its special monitoring mission (SMM) in the disputed region of south-east Ukraine.

The drones will need to have the ability to reach up to 4,000m to determine moving objects at a distance of several kilometers, reported Ria Novosti citing German media reports.

OSCE chairman and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter has previously discussed the drone deployment initiative with Russia and Ukraine.

"They’re welcome, as part of the mandate the mission has, they can use any technical means of observation and objective control."

The OSCE has been monitoring the situation in the region. A team from the SMM is observing the investigation on the MH17 crash in the disputed area of Donetsk in Ukraine.

According to the news agency, international inspectors have not recorded increasing military presence of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine.

Members from the US, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland are part of the monitoring mission.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by Business Recorder as saying: "We were asked whether observers could use drones. They’re welcome, as part of the mandate the mission has, they can use any technical means of observation and objective control.

"I hope this will allow us to dispel the suspicions periodically voiced to us that those checkpoints controlled on the Ukrainian side by rebels are used to send weapons and armed people on a mass scale from Russia to Ukraine."

Russia said that the observers’ team will be deployed on the border checkpoints with eastern Ukraine, to prove that the country has not been supplying arms to the rebels.

"We expect the OSCE observers to deploy at the Donetsk and Gukovo checkpoints in the next few days," Lavrov added.

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