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Did NATO Try to Fly Drones Into Russia?

Switchblade Drone
Switchblade drone. Image Credit: Company Handout.

Russia Says NATO Tried to Fly Drones Into Russia: Russia’s state-run news agency TASS reported on Saturday how Mikhaul Vedernikov, the governor of Russia’s Pskov region, claimed that NATO drones have repeatedly attempted to cross the border into Russia.

The claim, if true, could have significant consequences – though it would first require Russian President Vladimir Putin to declare the efforts an “escalation” in the Ukraine conflict and then take military action against NATO.

“We have never provided extensive coverage to that but there were attempts of military unmanned aerial vehicles and other aircraft to illegally cross the border,” Vedernikov claimed.

“All such ‘peaceful interaction’ was ‘flourishing’ even before the start of the special military operation,” the governor continued. “Clearly all that has aggravated further at present.”

Vedernikov’s comments suggest that even if the Kremlin believes that NATO drones did attempt to cross into Russian airspace, little may be done about it.

No further details about the kinds of drones that were seen were provided, nor did Vedernikov reveal how close the drones came to entering Russian airspace.

This is not the first time, however, that reports like this have been made. NATO had previously carried out operations in the region before the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February.

Russian drones have also reportedly encroached into NATO territory during the Ukraine conflict, with reports in March describing how the Ukrainian Air Force shot down a Russian Forpost drone patrolling over Poland.

What Could It Mean?

The comments could indicate genuine concern from the Russian side that NATO is looking to escalate the conflict. At the same time, the comments could be strategic.

Instead of expressing genuine concern about NATO aircraft flying in Russian territory, knowing that NATO Allies do not want the Ukraine invasion to escalate into a full global conflict, Russia may be attempting to put NATO on the back foot and reconsider any new measures designed to help Ukraine.

It may also be the case that NATO drones did fly near Russian territory close to the Pskov region, but that the drones never intended to cross into Russian airspace. Given the close proximity of Latvia and Estonia, two NATO countries, to the border of the Pskov region, it’s entirely possible that the drones had no intention of encroaching into Russian airspace.

NATO Sends Jammers to Ukraine

While Russia expresses concern about the presence of NATO drones close to its border, NATO is supplying Ukraine with jammers designed to defend against drone attacks from Russian forces.

NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg confirmed on Friday in a speech in Brussels that NATO Allies are “providing unprecedented military support” to Ukraine, including the delivery of medical supplies, fuel, and drone jammers designed to stop Russian attack drones from functioning.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.