DONETSK, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - The Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in eastern Ukraine has no controlling functions, hence, no right to use drones, Deputy Prime Minister of Donetsk People's Republic Andrei Purgin told RIA Novosti Thursday.
"Drones are not being operated yet. At the moment the OSCE mission does not have a mandate to control operations. They are observers here. With the current mandate, they can't launch drones. Fifty six countries (OSCE members) should meet and vote to get the mandate of controllers instead of observers," Purgin said.
The deputy prime minister added that when the OSCE receives such a mandate, the Donetsk People's Republic will not object the use of drones to monitor the Russia-Ukraine border. He reminded that the Donetsk People's Republic had earlier claimed that it would shoot down any drones used in the conflict zone without the coordination with independence supporters.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on September 13 that he had officially authorized the OSCE mission to deploy drones to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire in Ukraine. The first two UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) arrived in Ukraine on Monday.
The deployment of OSCE drones, initially planned for late September or early October, has already been postponed several times.
Russia's OSCE envoy Andrei Kelin said last month that training was underway for UAV maintenance personnel and that the first aerial vehicles would be tested soon, while the security organization's press office reported the first two drones would be launched at the end of October.