Drone Explodes in Croatia, 3 Nations Away From War Zone

Flight path went through Romania and Hungary
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 12, 2022 3:35 PM CST
Croatia Blames NATO After Drone From Ukraine Explodes
Police inspect the site of a drone crash in Zagreb, Croatia, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Croatian officials criticized NATO on Saturday for what they said was its slow reaction to a Soviet-era military drone that apparently flew from the Ukrainian war zone through the airspace of three NATO member states, before crashing in the Croatian capital. The Russian-made unmanned aircraft crossed Romania and Hungary before entering Croatia and slamming late Thursday into a field near a student dormitory, the AP reports. Some 40 parked cars were damaged, but no one was injured after a loud blast.

NATO said its integrated air and missile defense had tracked the object's flight path. But the Croatian prime minister said that the country's authorities were not informed and that NATO reacted only after questions were posed by journalists. "We cannot tolerate this situation, nor should it have ever happened," Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at the crash site. "This was a pure and clear threat and both NATO and the EU should have reacted," he said. "We will work to raise the readiness not only of us but of others as well."

Plenkovic said a Tu-141 "Strizh" reconnaissance drone flew for over 40 minutes over Hungary and six to seven minutes over Croatia before crashing. Romania said the drone was in its airspace for only three minutes after crossing from Ukraine, making it hard to intercept. "This could have fallen on the nuclear power plant in Hungary. Obviously there was no good reaction and other countries did not react well. Now we have a test from which we have to learn and react much better," Plenkovic said. Both Russia and Ukraine have denied they launched the drone. Military experts say Ukraine is the only known current operator of the Tu-141, which has a wingspan of nearly 12 feet and weighs just over 6 tons.

(More Croatia stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.