Germany, France make drone offer to Ukraine monitors

10th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

Germany and France have formally offered drones to monitor Ukraine's border with Russia in a bid to halt the flow of fighters and weapons to pro-Moscow separatists, Berlin said Friday.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at a meeting with Ukrainian counterpart Pavel Klimkin that the proposal had been made to the regional Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is monitoring the conflict.

"We are now in discussions with the OSCE to which this formal offer has been made," said ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer.

Clarification was still needed on legal issues which would arise if the drones were accompanied by teams of armed military personnelm, he said.

Klimkin hailed the offer from Paris and Berlin, first announced five days earlier, as "a very important contribution to the implementation of the ceasefire".

Two Austrian unarmed aerial vehicles cleared Ukraine customs Monday to form part of the OSCE drone contingent to be deployed along the Russian border and across the war zone.

NATO believes that Russia has withdrawn a "significant" number of the special forces it allegedly snuck into eastern Ukraine to help insurgents set up their own state.

Moscow denies involvement and rejects trying to seize its neighbour's most economically important industrial region in retaliation for the February ouster of a Russian-backed president.

© 2014 AFP

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