Croatian authorities revealed that the Soviet-era Tu-141 Strizh drone that crashed in the country’s capital late Thursday carried a bomb that weighed up to 120 kilograms.
This was revealed on Sunday as the majority of the wreck was pulled out of a crater that resulted from the aircraft’s impact. It was said that the bomb exploded only after penetrating the soft ground where it crashed, a coincidence that allegedly prevented more significant damages from the blast.
A damaged black box from inside the aircraft was also recovered, the authorities said, adding that experts are currently working on extracting as much information as possible.
The drone entered Croatian airspace from east to west, or from Hungarian airspace, at a speed of 700 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 1,300 meters. The Romanian defense ministry said that the drone entered its airspace from Ukraine at approximately 23:23 and spend three minutes in its airspace. It crashed in Zagreb after seven minutes in Croatian airspace.
Croatia confirmed the aircraft’s Soviet origin but did not say whether it was Ukrainian or Russian. Both Ukraine and Russia have already denied involvement in the event.
It is worth noting that Russian news agency Tass reported that a Tu-141 drone also crashed in Crimea a day after the crash in Croatia. The one that was discovered in Crimea reportedly featured a Soviet red star on its wings.
As Croatia continues its investigation, its defense ministry emphasized it would insist on intensifying cooperation within NATO so that such an event would not happen again.
“Once again, we are telling the citizens that they should not worry. What we expect is better communication among NATO members because this could have happened to anyone. That is why we will raise this issue at all levels – both political and military,” the country’s defense minister Mario Banožić told reporters on Saturday.