Germany sent a military fact-finding mission to eastern Ukraine on Tuesday to determine whether the Bundeswehr can support an observer mission there by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with a reconnaissance UAV, the Defense Ministry in Berlin said.
The 14-member unarmed German team will travel to an area of the Luhansk region that so far has not seen combat.
“The exploration results will be the basis for a later decision if a mission under the umbrella of the OSCE could be possible,” a Defense Ministry spokesman said: “A condition for a mission is also an observance of the cease-fire by all sides.”
The French military has sent a similar team to eastern Ukraine. During the recent NATO summit in Wales, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande agreed to review how both countries could jointly support the Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE.
The OSCE had asked for airborne surveillance capabilities to monitor the cease-fire in two of three regions in eastern Ukraine. The organization has the means to monitor only one region.