Putin Denounces Ukraine's Use Of Turkish Drones In Erdogan Call

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Dec 05, 2021 - 04:00 AM

In a Friday phone call Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan that Ukraine is using Turkish-made drones against pro-Russia separatists in the war-torn Donbass region. Putin put the Turkish leader on notice over the "destabilizing" activity of the continued drone transfers from Turkey to Ukraine.

Putin further denounced the Turkish drone usage as "destructive" and "provocative" behavior on the part of Ukrainian authorities, citing specifically that Turkish-made Bayraktar drones have increasingly turned up in the conflict. Putin is reportedly also angry that the Turkey-to-Ukraine drone and weapons pipeline is still open and going strong, according to new reports.

Bayraktar TB2 drone

A spokesperson for Erdogan later confirmed that the drone issue was raised, but gave no further details. A follow-up statement from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, however, rejected the notion that Turkey can be held responsible for the Ukrainian military's deployment of Turkish-made drones.

Further at issue is that recent drone sales from Turkey have been found to be much bigger than previously disclosed, outraging the Kremlin:

Turkey has sold Ukraine significantly more of the armed drones that drew a rebuke from Russia than previously disclosed, with further deals in the pipeline, Bloomberg reported

Baykar, an arms manufacturer based in Istanbul, has sold dozens of drones to Ukraine since 2019, together with control stations and missiles, according to several officials and an executive at a Turkish defense company with close government ties. Orders for at least two dozen more drones are under way, the people said, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject. 

As Reuters reviews, Turkish drones have recently become featured in a flair-up of fighting:

In October, Russia accused Ukraine of destabilizing the situation after government forces used a Bayraktar TB2 drone to strike a position controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

Ukraine used the Bayraktar drone "for one tidy shot" at a gun system, and since then enemy soldiers are afraid of doing duty at such systems as they understand "how this could end," Ukraine's defense minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Friday.

We noted in late October that Russia began intensely investigating recent reports of Turkish attack drones being deployed for the first time in Ukraine’s eight-year civil war. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) under the command of the Kiev government claimed that the drones were used at that time in combat against ethnic Russian rebels.

And the now confirmed Turkish drone deployments mark a dramatic escalation in the smoldering war, as it marks the involvement of NATO member Turkey in the conflict. Up to now, the United States and other NATO states have been supplying lethal weaponry through Kiev to prosecute its war against the breakaway self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Over the past year as reports started to surface, Moscow began suggesting it could sever all military level relations and cooperation with Turkey. Turkey, for example, relies on Russia for technical support for the S-400 anti-air missile defense systems supplied a couple years ago.