HAMBURG Dec 9 The Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Europe on Friday launched a tender for long-range
drones after losing eight such aircraft over eastern Ukraine
since it began a monitoring mission there.
"Many of our drones were electronically destroyed or shot
down," OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier told reporters
during a two-day ministerial meeting in Hamburg.
He said the group had suspended the use of the drones, which
can fly 150 km (93 miles), after the losses, which Russian-based
separatists - who are battling Ukrainian troops for control of
the Donbass region - were mainly responsible for.
The OSCE, a 57-member human rights and security watchdog,
ski has been using unmanned planes to help monitor the lines of
conflict and augment the work of over 700 human observers in
eastern Ukraine, often providing access to areas where monitors
have been blocked.
The OSCE said it had also lost two medium-range and five
Zannier said the OSCE also planned to invest more in other
high-tech equipment to aid its work, including
motion-activitated mounted camera that can transmit infrared
data, as well as commercial satellite imagery.
A spokesman for Schiebel, which made the drones that were
shot down, said the firm planned to submit a bid for the tender.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Additional reporting and writing
by Andrea Shalal; editing by John Stonestreet)