Bolstered By Turkish Bayraktar TB2 Drones, Ukraine Steps-Up Pressure Against Russia – Reports

The border service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has recently recorded an increase in the numbers of Ukrainian drone flights close to the border between the countries, Vladimir Kulishov, the head of the border service and the first deputy chief of the FSB, said in an interview with Sputnik.

“We also see an increase in the number of unmanned aerial vehicle flights above the land section of the Russian-Ukrainian state border. With the assistance of Western partners, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine is constantly enhancing the fleet of drones used in border activities,” Kulishov said.

According to the head of the FSB’s border service, Kiev is actively studying the experience of Turkish and Israeli reconnaissance and attack drones for potentially using it in the conflict area in Ukraine’s southeast.

Bayraktar TB2 Drones

As a part of its military modernization program, Ukraine acquired 12 Bayraktar TB2s drones from Turkey in 2019.

The $69 million contract was signed between Baykar Makina and Ukrspetsproekt, Ukraine’s state-run agency. Turkish officials said the deal also involves the sale of ammunition for the armed version of the Bayraktar TB2.

On April 20th this year, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that his country was selling combat drones to Ukraine without preconditions, the deal is not directed against Russia.

“We sell drones to whoever requests it, we have no preconditions. This deal [with Ukraine] is not against Russia. We are, fortunately, a country that has good production, we have something to sell,” Cavusoglu told the Haberturk broadcaster.

Earlier, Azerbaijan’s education minister had praised the role of Turkey’s Bayraktar drones, in the war Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Emin Amrullayev said the 44-day Nagorno-Karabakh war clearly emphasized the value of Turkish weaponry.

“The war of the 21st century is a technology war. Turkey’s Bayraktar UAVs played a great role in our victory,” he said, referring to the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh and other settlements from an Armenian occupation that lasted for nearly three decades.

Bayraktar TB2 drones are currently used by Turkey, Ukraine, Qatar, and Azerbaijan and has many potential buyers in the pipeline. Turkey is among six countries in the world that can produce its own drones.

Pact With Poland

Recently, Turkey signed its first-ever pact on the supply of its drones to a NATO country, Poland, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda.

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said earlier that Warsaw was buying 24 unmanned aerial vehicles Bayraktar from Turkey.

“We are among the 3-4 countries in the world that produce the best drones. We are proud to share this experience and capabilities with our NATO ally Poland. Today, for the first time in history, we signed an agreement under which Turkey will sell UAVs to the country, which is part of NATO,” Erdogan said.

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak had earlier stated that Poland opted for Bayraktar drones due to their “striking capabilities” and effectiveness proven “in the wars in the East [Europe]” and the Middle East.

“This is a real weapon. The first set will be delivered to the Polish army in a year, in 2022,” he said, adding that Warsaw would also purchase “logistics and training packages,” as well as an offset for the service.

The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude, long-range tactical UAV system. It was developed by Kale-Baykar, a joint venture of Baykar Makina and the Kale Group. The UAV operates as a platform for conducting reconnaissance and intelligence missions.

The aircraft is monitored and controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station, including weapons employment, via the Türksat satellite.

Inputs From Sputnik International