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Ukraine claims first-ever use of state-of-the-art Turkish combat drone in country’s Donbass region, violating ceasefire agreement

Ukraine’s Army announced on Tuesday that it had successfully fired a missile from a Turkish Bayraktar drone in the Donbass for the first-ever time, publishing a video that allegedly shows a piece of artillery being destroyed.

Ukraine first purchased Bayraktar TB2s in 2019 and has reportedly bought more since. The drone was first used in an active conflict zone this year when it conducted a reconnaissance flight over the Donbass without firing any missiles. If confirmed, the October 26 drone strike will be a new milestone for the Ukrainian military.

According to the general staff of the country’s armed forces, the drone was fired near the village of Granitnoye, close to the city of Mariupol, in response to the shelling that allegedly killed a Ukrainian serviceman.

The conflict in the Donbass began following the events of the 2014 Maidan, when a democratically elected government was toppled by violent street protests. This eventually led to the two self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk (DNR) and Luhansk (LNR) declaring independence, a move recognized by neither Russia, Ukraine or any UN state. According to Kiev, the regions are under the direction of the Kremlin. Moscow vehemently denies this charge.

Seven years later, the war is still ongoing, with separatists from the DNR and LNR wishing to be independent states outside of Kiev’s control.

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The new drone attack, if confirmed, is in violation of the ceasefire agreed in July that specifically banned the use of drones near the line of contact. Only the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission is allowed to use unmanned aircraft.

Leadership from the LNR has also criticized the strike as a “deliberate violation of the Minsk agreement,” a ceasefire signed in 2014.

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