The military bloc needs to “raise its readiness” in the face of “a pure and clear threat,” Zagreb has maintained
NATO was too slow to respond to the drone flying from Ukraine to Croatian territory, before colliding in Zagreb this week.
“We cannot tolerate this situation, nor should it have ever happened,” Plenkovic told journalists, referring to Thursday’s incident, in which a six-ton unmanned aircraft crashing into a field near a student dormitory.
“This was a pure and clear threat and both NATO and the EU should have reacted,”After visiting the site of the crash, the prime minister said that he was satisfied with the outcome. According to media reports, the crash did not result in any injuries. However, dozens of cars were left damaged.
“We will work to raise the readiness not only of [ourselves] but of others as well,”Plenkovic said so. The Soviet-era Tu-141 ‘Strizh’ reconnaissance drone briefly entered Romanian airspace from Ukraine before flying for about 40 minutes over Hungary then flying further and into Croatia, where it apparently ran out of fuel, the reports said.
Croatia’s prime minister has called on Hungarian authorities to launch an investigation into why its air defenses had not reacted to the unmanned aerial vehicle entering the nation’s airspace. “This could have fallen on the nuclear power plant in Hungary. There was clearly no positive reaction, and the other countries didn’t react as well. Now we have a test from which we have to learn and react much better,” Plenkovic has said, adding that Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban had been informed about the incident even later than the Croatian prime minister himself.
All NATO members are Romania, Hungary, and Croatia. Romanian officials had claimed that the object, which was fast and flies for three minutes at a time, entered their airspace. This made it difficult to intercept. The Tu-141 ‘Strizh’ drones have a speed of around 1,000 km (621 miles) per hour and a range of 1,000 kilometers.
Plenkovic claimed that he had notified all EU leaders and sent a note to NATO Secretary General Jens Sloltenberg warning him about similar incidents in any member-state.
“This indicates the need for closer cooperation within NATO itself because this is NATO’s airspace, Romania’s, Hungary’s, and Croatia’s,” Plenkovic explained. NATO has yet to respond in any other way.
Uncertain as to the origins of this drone. Croatia claims that only more investigation will reveal the identity of the drone’s operator. Russia and Ukraine both deny that they launched unmanned aircraft. Ukraine is the only country that operates Tu-141s currently.
The incident comes after Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. These protocols, which were French and German-brokered, had been created to regulate the state of these regions in the Ukrainian government.
Russia now demands that Ukraine declare itself neutral and vows to not join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims it planned to seize the two republics.