Bayraktar drone. Photo: The Turkish drone company Baykar.

The use of the drone marks a new chapter in the war in Eastern Ukraine. The Bayraktar drones were highly effective in the Nagorno-Karabakh War. 

The Turkish made Bayraktar drones fly too high for many antiaircraft systems to reach them and is a new addition to the Ukrainian army. Last year, Turkey and Ukraine signed an arms deal, allowing Ukraine to produce the highly effective Bayraktar, which significantly impacted the Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh War with Azerbaijan last year.

On Tuesday, the Armed Forces of Ukraine used the Bayraktar drone for the first time in the war against the Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine, according to Interfax Ukraine. The war in Eastern Ukraine has claimed the lives of more than 14,000 people since 2014 when the war broke out between Russian-backed separatists and Ukraine. Millions have had to flee. A video of the strike can be seen below. 

The use of the Bayraktar drone is attracting much attention among experts in war because of the role of the drones in the Nagorno-Karabakh war and their effectiveness against Russian weaponry. Some are also pointing out that the closer relationship between Turkey and Ukraine is angering Russia. 

“Bayraktar was used to force the enemy to cease fire by order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The unmanned aerial vehicle did not cross the line of contact and destroyed one gun at the expense of the Russian occupation forces,” a statement by the Ukrainian army read. 

What happens next?

The Ukrainian army says that the Bayraktar was used to take out – what experts on Twitter – says are a Russian RU D-30 Artillery Piece, which was firing on the Ukrainian positions. There are already some reports about a Russian retaliation drone strike on Ukrainian positions, but it is still unclear whether that is true. 

The Russians have already been out saying that using the Bayraktar drone in Eastern Ukraine is a breach of the so-called Minsk Agreement – a ceasefire. They point out that the Minsk Agreement bans the use of drones. 

“The Ukrainian side shoulders all responsibility for escalation in Donbas. Ukraine is playing an extremely dangerous game,” said Russian Plenipotentiary Representative to the Minsk Contact Group Boris Gryzlov, according to Tass

While experts point out that the Ukrainian use of the Bayraktar drone is a new development in the war in Donbas, few believe that it will change much on the ground, where fighting has been calmer in recent years. Instead, it is possible that the new developments will negatively affect the stranded peace negotiations.