Drone incident in Croatia
On March 10, a military drone crashed in Croatia, near Zagreb. It is unknown whether it was a Russian or Ukrainian aerial vehicle. First news claimed that the drone carried an explosive device, and it flew through the airspace of three NATO member states, including Romania and Hungary, before crashing into Croatia. Croatian officials had criticized NATO for the slow reaction of the Alliance and its air defence.
Another criticism arose that NATO did not inform the member states and Croatian officials about the drone. It only became evitable after the journalists asked the questions. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said, “we cannot tolerate this situation, nor should it have ever happened”.
At the same time, he is calling for the investigation of why the drone was not noticed in the Hungarian air space, in which the drone flew for around 40 minutes, and why it was ignored. On March 12, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had been in contact with Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic and agreed to launch an investigation. The examination also includes whether the crash was an accident, sabotage or intentional.
However, a few days later, Jens Stoltenberg said that the drone was unarmed and crashed after running out of fuel. He added that it was a reconnaissance drone. That fact is backed up by the analysis of aviation experts from Croatia. Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Oleksii Reznikov, has said that it was not a Ukrainian drone and that Ukraine would never violate the airspace of Croatian partner. After the incident, NATO protocol has changed, and NATO countries must immediately respond to such kinds of incidents.