A Chinese-made drone was shot down by soldiers in eastern Ukraine last weekend.
Soldiers of the 111th Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces of Ukraine, located near the city of Sloviansk, shot down the Mugin-5 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with AK-47 around 2 a.m., according to CNN.
China’s role in the Russo-Ukrainian war, which began on February 24, 2022, has raised concerns among the United States and NATO allies, as it could potentially provoke a larger global response should it become more meddlesome – which it might even be a world could lead scenario of war III.
China has remained relatively neutral up to this point, urging Russia and Ukraine to implement a ceasefire and peaceful solution, including a 12-point peace plan drawn up by Chinese officials. The plan was recognized by senior Kremlin officials, who remained reluctant to negotiate peace while demanding their own terms.
The reported downed drone came the same week that Russian warplanes downed a US drone in the Black Sea, considered international waters.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confirmed the crash of the drone and told CNN that agents on Russian territory had alerted them to the flashing UAV, which was shot down at low altitude.
“From the noise, from the signal light, the troops shot at it a lot and knocked down the UAV,” 35-year-old Ukrainian fighter Maksim told CNN, adding that Ukrainian units routinely conduct aerial reconnaissance.
Officials from Mugin UAV, the drone’s maker based in Xiamen on China’s east coast, told CNN that the upgraded and armed drone was theirs and called the incident “deeply regrettable,” adding in a statement, “We condone its use.” not . We’re trying our best to stop it.”
In a statement published on its website on March 2, the manufacturer said that “UAV platforms must not be used for military purposes.” These include condemning weapons and explosives attached to its UAVs and not providing after-sales service for military purposes.
“From the moment Mugin first opened its doors, we have remained steadfast in one goal: the development of UAV platforms for the benefit of mankind,” the statement reads. “With this in mind, we would like to reiterate the fact that we absolutely condemn the use of our UAV platforms for military purposes.”
The company is also reportedly no longer accepting orders from Russia and Ukraine.
Samuel Bendett, Russia analyst at the Center for Naval Analyzes, narrates news week that Russia claims that Ukraine is using the same Mugin drones for long-range strikes on Crimea and Russia itself.
Whether or not the use of the drone was deliberately perpetrated by Russians or Chinese could have broader implications, said Rajan Menon, director of the Grand Strategy Program at Defense Priorities and nonresident scholar in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Russia and Eurasia program.
“The Chinese are divided: on the one hand, they see the war as bad for the Russians and don’t want to be associated with failure,” Menon said news week. “On the other hand, they don’t want to see Russia lose.”
Russia’s military failure could allow the US to orient itself more towards Asia without thinking about Europe, he added, saying it is paradoxical for a country to promote peace negotiations while theoretically offering arms to one of the conflict’s main combatants. Furthermore, arming the Russians would exclude China as an intermediary, putting them in line with a possible failed conquest.
“If the drone was given to the Russians by the Chinese, that’s a sign for the future,” Menon said. “What makes it difficult is that they have tried to assert themselves as peacemakers, albeit with a plan that makes them favor Russia.”
news week emailed Mugin and the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.