The plane that fell on Zagreb passed through Romania and Hungary, officials said.
The military drone that crashed overnight in the Croatian capital Zagreb is believed to have come from Ukraine, President Zoran Milanovic said on Friday after chairing a meeting of the National Security Council.
The six-ton plane flew through Romanian and Hungarian airspace before reaching Croatia, Milanovic said, citing information he received at the meeting. It flew over Hungarian airspace for about 40 minutes.
The six-ton plane traveled at nearly 1,000 km (621 miles) per hour and spent seven minutes over Croatia, before running out of fuel and crashing, the president said.
Milanovic described the incident as very serious, but stressed that it was not some kind of attack on his country. He expressed his relief that no one was injured in the accident and called on Croats to remain calm.
The president wondered how a relatively unsophisticated drone could spend an hour in NATO airspace without being intercepted, despite being detected by radar stations. The incident showed the country needs to develop its defenses better, he said.
Asked by reporters whether Zagreb would complain to Ukraine if the drone’s origin was confirmed to be Ukrainian, Milanovic said Kiev had its hands full to fight off the Russian attack.
“I just hope it doesn’t happen again” he said.
Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banozic held a press conference, during which he said that the Croatian military did not fail in the incident since the plane posed no threat to the country.
Admiral Robert Hranj, Croatia’s chief of staff, who spoke alongside the minister, confirmed that Zagreb had not sent fighter jets in response to the airspace violation Croatian by the drone, claiming that the army did not have enough time to do so.
The plane that crashed Thursday night in Zagreb’s Jarun district is widely believed to be a Soviet-designed Tu-141 Strizh reconnaissance drone. Hranj refused to assign ownership of the unmanned aircraft, stating that this type of aircraft was “relatively old-fashioned and widespread in the Soviet Union since the last century.”
A Tu-141 weighs about six tons, has a speed of about 1,000 km (621 miles) per hour and a range of 1,000 km. It lands using a tail-mounted parachute system. Croatian police discovered parachutes in the crash area.
Ukraine is the only country that officially operates Tu-141s at the moment.