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The European Space Agency suspends its Mars mission with Russia

By on March 17, 2022 0
Police inspect the site of a drone crash in Zagreb, Croatia on March 11. (Darko Bandic/AP)

Last week, a drone flew more than 350 miles beyond Ukraine’s western border before crashing in Croatia, a NATO member country. The drone was carrying a bomb, Croatian officials said, and it remains unclear whether it belonged to Ukrainian or Russian forces.

Another drone recently entered Romanian airspace, south of Ukraine. And on Tuesday, the Ukrainian military said it shot down a Russian drone that had entered Ukraine through Polish airspace.

The trio of drone incidents have amplified concerns that Russia’s war in Ukraine could spill over into NATO nations, even unintentionally, forcing the alliance to decide how to react – if at all – to the incidents that occur within its borders.

US defense officials say the errant drones that entered NATO territory appeared to be largely unintentional. Since the start of the Russian invasion, the US military has established a deconfliction line with Russia to reduce the risk of miscalculation and to ensure that the two armies operating so close to each other do not do not clash inadvertently. The United States has tested the line “once or twice a day”, according to a senior defense official, but so far it has not been necessary.

But NATO tried unsuccessfully to connect with Russia via a deconfliction hotline and written letters, raising concerns about Russia’s willingness to engage as the invasion of Ukraine unfolded. extended further west into NATO territory, senior NATO military officials said on Wednesday.

“We try to communicate with them of course,” one of the officials told reporters during a briefing at NATO headquarters. “But it takes two [sides] communicate.”

Russia brought the fight closer to NATO’s doorstep last weekend with precision-guided missile strikes near Lviv, western Ukraine, targeting a military training center just 10 miles away from the Polish border. The attacks came a day after Russian officials threatened convoys supplying weapons to Ukraine from the West, although a senior US defense official said the facility was not being used for security expeditions.

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