Contradictory statements have come out of Croatia regarding the drone that crashed in the country’s capital on March 11, 2022.
On March 13, 2022, Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banožić announced that traces of explosives were found at the crash site, indicating that the drone carried an explosive payload.
According to Banožić’s later statements, the drone carried a 40-kilogram (88 pound) bomb which exploded after the aircraft crashed and buried itself in the soft soil.
However, the statements received criticism from other Croatian officials, who argued that Banožić’s statements were premature.
In a press conference on March 14, 2022, Croatia’s president Zoran Milanović called on the country’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to “calm down” Banožić, and called the experts, who talked about the bomb in public, “charlatans”.
According to Croatian news site 24sata.hr, Milanović stated that an investigation is underway, and it is too early to speak about the details.
“The bomb issue is a theoretical one, it is a matter of investigation. I can’t tell you for sure whether that aircraft was flown in by Ukrainian forces. We can’t be completely sure; we’ll probably never know. Because even if we collect material evidence, which is always limited, we do not expect Ukraine to admit it. This is simply normal in a war situation,” Milanović is quoted as saying by 24sata.hr.
According to Index.hr, the Croatian government is also investigating how the aircraft crossed into the country’s territory without being shot down and will consider improving the capability and readiness of the country’s air defense network.
The incident is also being investigated in Hungary and Romania, the two countries whose airspace the drone, reportedly, overflew. Earlier, Hungary said that its military detected the drone but deemed it not to be a threat.