Russian-made weapons in rebel-held eastern Ukraine: security watchdog

Vastavam web: A security watchdog today said for the first time it had spotted Russian-made weapons in rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine, despite the Kremlin insisting it has not provided arms in the conflict. The statement from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is a rare independent confirmation that sophisticated Russian-produced arms are involved in the fight between the Ukrainian army and separatists.

In a statement to AFP, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine said that on July 28, it had “spotted four distinct electronic warfare systems in areas not controlled by the government.”The systems designed to jam mobile communication and disable radar guided missiles started being produced only a few years ago and are made in Russia.

The OSCE report did not explicitly name the country of origin. Repellent-1 was designed to disable and destroy drones at distances of up to roughly 30 kilometres, according to Russian media. The mission confirmed to AFP that its drones, which are used to monitor the four-year-old conflict, have been jammed dozens of times, but refused to speculate on the source of the interference.Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of funnelling troops and arms across the border.

Moscow has denied the allegations despite overwhelming evidence that it has been involved in the fighting. The OSCE team’s 600 members are the only independent monitoring mission in the war-torn area.