(RepublicanInformer.com)- It was reported on Friday that a drone believed to be operating over Ukraine strayed into NATO territory before crashing in the outskirts of the Croatian capital of Zagreb on Thursday after running out of fuel.
According to Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, the information available indicate the drone was a Russian-made Tu-141 drone, however, it wasn’t clear whether the drone belonged to the Russian or Ukrainian military.
Reports indicate that the drone flew from Ukraine into neighboring Romania then crossed over Hungary to Croatia. In total, the drone flew for at least 350 miles before it crashed outside of Zagreb.
Romania, Hungary, and Croatia are all in NATO.
Croatian President Zoran Milanovic expressed concern that the drone from Ukraine was able to fly over NATO airspace for more than an hour without being detected.
Ukraine is denying the drone was one of theirs. According to Interfax news agency, Ukrainian defense ministry advisor Markian Lubkivskiy said the drone did not have Ukrainian markings, but red stars which identified it as Russian military.
Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in Zagreb claimed the drone was Ukrainian-made and Russian forces hadn’t used the Tu-141s since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
During a press conference Thursday night, the Croatian defense minister and the army chief of staff wouldn’t discuss the ongoing investigation, only describing the incident as “serious.” They said Croatia had closed its airspace and had been in contact with neighboring countries and NATO.
Army Chief of Staff Robert Hranj would not say whose drone it was, only telling reporters that the drone was a “relatively old-era” flying object that was used in the former Soviet Union.
Zagreb mayor Tomislav Tomasevic said initial findings indicated that the crash was an accident. While parts of the drone were scattered in several locations, no one was hurt. According to Croatian police, the drone left a large crater in a wooded area and some nearby cars were damaged.
Local media spoke with witnesses who described hearing a large explosion that shook the ground, then detecting the smell of kerosene.
Officials in Romania and Hungary are also investigating the incident.