OSCE to use Austrian-made drones to monitor Ukraine conflict

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VIENNA – The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has Friday confirmed it will use Austrian-made drones for observational purposes in eastern Ukraine.

The Vienna-based organization told the Austria Press Agency (APA) the unmanned and unarmed Camcopter drones made by Austrian company Schiebel will be used to support its Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to monitor the situation on the border between Russia and Ukraine, in particular with regard to the current cease-fire.

The technology will be used to monitor larger areas and to collect information in real-time, which the OSCE will then decide if it will make public.

The OSCE said it was the first time it had used such technology and equipment as part of its operations, and stressed that at no time will the Camcopter drones be armed either at present or in the future, and that their use is solely for reconnaissance and surveillance.

Under the contract Schiebel will provide a minimum of two of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) along with a control station, six operators, and three technical staff. Their operation is expected to begin at the end of September or in early October.

Total expenses for the arrangement are not yet known, the APA report stated, though will be paid for by the OSCE participating states.