PM Plenkovic keeps insisting that the drone in Zagreb was armed with explosives

NEWS 15.03.2022 19:10
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Source: N1

In a direct rebuke to NATO officials, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic kept insisting on Tuesday that a Soviet-made reconnaissance drone which most likely flew from Ukraine and crashed in Zagreb last week was indeed armed, and proceeded to back his claim showing reporters photos of traces of a bomb.

Plenkovic’s statement was a direct rebuke to NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, who said earlier on Tuesday that, according to the preliminary indications, the drone was unarmed and merely crashed when it ran out of fuel.

The missile-like drone is thought to have traveled some 600 kilometers from Ukraine which is currently fighting a Russian invasion. It is unclear which side in the conflict used the 6-ton unmanned vehicle, but the fact that it flew over the entirety of Hungary only to fly into Croatian air space and crash in a park in a residential area in Zagreb raised questions about NATO’s air defense capabilities.

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The drone, a Tu-141, was used by the Soviet army in the 1970s and 1980s for reconnaissance missions and typically do not carry any weapons. However, Defense Minister, Ivan Banozic, and Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, insist that traces of explosive have been found at the crash site, where the drone left a crater some 3 meters in width.

“This drone which crashed on Thursday – given that there is lot of confusion, we must remove and eliminate all possibly incorrect information – this drone was armed… It was not unarmed, it was armed. We know it now. This was not known on Thursday night, maybe it was not known on Friday, but now we know,” Plenkovic told reporters on Tuesday evening.

Earlier this week, military aviation experts consulted by local media had dismissed the theory of the drone carrying any armament. However, Plenkovic was insistent on Tuesday.  He showed photos of the crash site to reporters, saying that they depicted “traces of a bomb,” that is, the explosive that was found at the crash site.

“I have shown this now intentionally so that we remove all the speculation,” Plenkovic said, and added that relevant authorities are now working to establish what type of bomb it was.