Moscow says Russian troops aren’t fighting inside of Ukraine, but Moscow’s drones tell another story:
The $55,000 Eleron-3SV is a battery powered, 4.3 kg (7.49 pounds) UAV travelling at speeds of from 70 to 130 kilometers an hour. Flight endurance of up to 2 hours, and maximum altitude of 5,000 meters (16,000 feet). It is launched by throwing it and can land by flying close to the ground and shutting its engine off. One of these UAVs was shot down by Syrian rebels (from al Nusra). Russia long supported the beleaguered Syrian government and sending some Eleron-3SV UAVs was not unusual. It’s unknown whether the Eleron-3SV UAVs were operated by Syrian or Russian personnel, as Russia has kept technical, military and intelligence personnel in Syria before, both for its own ends, and as direct support to the Syrian government, which had problems with providing enough highly educated, well trained technical specialists to its military forces even before the civil war.
It’s slightly more worrying to Russia that several of its new Orlan-10 drones were captured in Ukraine. Somewhat larger and more capable than the Eleron-3, the damaged drones not only present reverse engineering for anyone who gets access to them, they are also weakening the Russian government’s official statements that Russia is not providing military support for the separatists, as the drones are new models that were not officially exported anywhere yet.
Has anyone anywhere ever bought into Moscow’s denials about its direct involvement in Ukraine?
I mean, other than for convenient purposes of not having to do anything.