19 Feb 2019 18:34

OSCE observers in Donbas report warplane sighting 4 days ago

KYIV. Feb 19 (Interfax) - The Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE SMM) spotted a military aircraft over Donbas four days ago, according to an SMM report.

"At 10:00 on 15 February, while positioned in the south-western outskirts of Starobesheve (non-government-controlled, 32km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed an object south-east of its location flying in a south-west to north-easterly direction. Based on hand-held imagery, the SMM assessed it as a swept wing four-engine turbo-prop aircraft (likely a Tupolev Tu-95 or Tupolev Tu-142)," the report said.

About an hour later, "positioned in an area north-west of Liubivka (formerly Leninske, non-government-controlled, 43km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw an aircraft (likely a Tupolev Tu-95 or Tupolev Tu-142) east of its location flying from north to south and back again."

The SMM did not say whose aircraft it was, but Russia is known to be the only country in the region to operate that type of aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Air Force Command could not confirm that Tu-95 aircraft was flying over the Joint Forces Operation zone on February 15.

"Some online news outlets are disseminating news that on February 15, 2019, there was allegedly a sighting of a Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft, of the Tu-95 type, flying over the JFO zone. Having checked this information, we can state that it does not reflect reality and is fake," the air force said on Facebook on Tuesday.