A new shipment of Bayraktar TB-2 combat drones from Turkey has been put into service to boost Ukraine’s war effort against the Russian invasion, according to an announcement by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
“New Bayraktars have already arrived in Ukraine and have been put into service. More Stingers and Javelins are coming [from various countries]Reznikov wrote on his Facebook page, referring to FIM-92 Stinger man-portable air defense systems and FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles.
(Note: unverified footage).
It’s not clear from Reznikov’s statement whether Turkish combat drones arrived in Ukraine before or after the invasion – Ankara set out to try to maintain good relations with Moscow and Kiev despite the war – but Aerotime Hub reported on March 2 that many Turkish Air Force Airbus A400M drone flights between Ankara and Rzesow in southern Poland were carried out from February 25 to 27. It is conceivable that the drones were delivered to Poland on these flights, before being shipped over the Ukrainian border.
Reznikov did not provide any details on the exact number or variant of the drones, made by the Turkish company Baykar, that were shipped.
Since 2019 and before the last delivery, Ukraine appears to have acquired at least 20 Bayraktars from Turkey. They were put into service with the Ukrainian Air Force and Navy. In October last year, Ukraine announced the first combat use of this type, angering Moscow.
Russia has claimed to have shot down several Bayraktar drones since the start of the war, but a February 26 report in Middle East Eye (MEE) told how Ukrainian officials said the drones had achieved several battlefield successes, hitting Russian convoys and military forces. A February 28 article published by MEE explained how the drones have proven effective despite the Russian military apparently boasting sophisticated electronic warfare capabilities and state-of-the-art air defense systems.
Separately, Turkey said on March 2 that Russia, at Ankara’s request, withdrew its offer to send four warships to its waters in the Black Sea.
On February 28, NATO member Turkey said that after calling the conflict in Ukraine a “war”, it had closed the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits to foreign warships. However, under the 1936 Montreux Convention which regulates access to waters, ships returning to their registered military bases may be allowed to cross the Black Sea.
Three of the four warships Russia wanted to send through the strait were not registered at Black Sea bases, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“No one should be offended by this [request for the warships to not cross the straits]because the Montreux Convention is valid today, yesterday and tomorrow, so we will implement it,” Cavusoglu said.