Ukraine admits shooting down own drone over Kiev
The Ukrainian Air Force admitted on Thursday evening that a drone destroyed over Kiev earlier in the day had been one of their own, which operators had lost control of.
“Since the uncontrolled presence of the UAV in the sky over the capital could lead to undesirable consequences, it was decided to deploy the mobile [missile] teams. This is unfortunate, but that’s technology, these things happen,” said a statement the military released to Ukrainian media.
The admission came several hours after a video showing the drone being taken down by a shoulder-fired rocket made rounds on social media.
The 30-second clip shows the drone slowly flying over Kiev, while small-arms fire can be heard in the background, until it is hit by a missile and crashes to cheers from the onlookers.
Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said that the drone had crashed in the Pechersky district and started a fire, but that no one was injured.
Pro-Ukrainian “open source intel” accounts quickly declared the UAV had been a Russian ‘Corsair’. After several Western outlets – including the German tabloid Bild – reported otherwise, however, the Ukrainian military issued their admission.
Bayraktar TB2 is a design of the Turkish company Baykar Makina. It saw extensive service with Azerbaijan in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which reportedly convinced Kiev to order a dozen. Several more were bought last year, some with money collected from the US and EU as charitable donations. The drones quickly fell prey to Russian air defenses, however, and have been largely absent from the front lines.
Exactly how the Ukrainian Air Force “lost control” of a TB2 over Kiev remained unexplained.