Russia says Turkish sale of drones to Ukraine will make the crisis worse
Ukraine has signed an agreement for the purchase of 12 Turkish Bayraktar Tactical Block 2 (TB2) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs), Turkish kokpit website reported.
The deal, announced by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday, follows two years of negotiations first began between Ankara and Kiev on the UAVs.
"As we previously agreed with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, we signed an agreement on purchasing Turkish armed drones Bayraktar TB2s for the Ukrainian army," Poroshenko wrote on Facebook.
Signed between the Ukrspetsproject company and the Turkish UAV manufacturer Baykar Makina, the agreement signals increasing military-technical cooperation between the two countries.
Selçuk Bayraktar, the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is the technical director of Baykar Makina, which is family-run business that sells TB2 UAV drones to the Turkish military.
The first flight of the Bayraktar TB2, which can be armed with long-range anti-tank missile under the wings,was performed in June 2009, and production began in December 2011 following a contract with the Turkish army.
Following the announcement, Russia's Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Maria Zaharova said, this sale "should not worsen the crisis" in the region. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and Russian backed separatist militias have been fighting in the eastern Ukraine since early 2014.
According to interview given to Russia's Kommersant by Zaharova, she conceded to the fact that "bilateral military technical partnership is a sovereignty right. The issue is that there is a civil war in the country." Zaharova ended her remarks by saying that such sale of drones can make the crisis worse.