Guardian Spikes Own Readers’ Drone Exclusive

by David Parker

The drone supposedly shot down in Turkey on Friday, October 16, is Ukrainian, Guardian online commenters revealed exclusively last Monday, outsmarting the world’s press and “military sources” who the paper reported had “said it is likely that it belonged to the Russian military”.

And the paper’s response? Discussion was closed within minutes of the posting of a translation showing that the plane was developed at Ukraine’s Zhytomyr Military Institute and produced in large numbers in the Dnipropetrovsk area for missions against pro-Russian forces to the east.

Ukranian made drone shot down over Turkey

Friday’s downed craft had immediately been suspected of being the latest in a series of Russian violations of Turkey’s airspace alleged by the government in Ankara, which has opposed Russia’s intervention in Syria’s civil war on the side of president Bashar al-Assad.

Anti-Russia commenters on the Guardian website seized upon the report as evidence of Russian mischief, with one going so far as to suggest that the unarmed 5ft plane should trigger collective NATO military action against Russia in support of Turkey’s right-wing government, an alliance member accused of allowing arms to reach jihadist fighters in Syria.

But photographic evidence shows that the wreckage in Turkey is identical to an aircraft shown on 19 August 2014 on the website of Ukraine’s Zhitomyr Journal website. The accompanying article reported that Ukraine expected to produce 30-40 such drones every month.

How Friday’s wrecked vehicle made it from Ukraine to Turkey remains a mystery. But it follows the release of a recording in which current Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu and security chiefs discussed creating grounds for cross-border operations.

In the tape, released in March 2014, intelligence chief Hakan Fidan is heard to propose, “I send four men to the other side. I get them to fire eight missiles into empty land.”

The tape’s authenticity appeared to be confirmed by then premier (and now Turkish president) Tayyip Erdogan who shortly afterward declared of opponents, “They even leaked a national security meeting… Who are you serving by doing audio surveillance of such an important meeting?”

But the quest by the Guardian’s readers to identify the mystery aircraft unearthed indications of a potentially still more sinister use by Ukraine in its 2014 conflict with pro-Russian separatists. The drone was the very same model alleged by Ukraine’s own security agency to have carried possible chemical agents.

The aircraft reported by Turkey last Friday is identical to one supposedly brought down by Ukrainian air defences on 28 May 2014 during armed clashes with separatists in Donetsk and Lugansk districts, and claimed by the Security Service of Ukraine to be carrying an “unknown chemical substance”.

May 28 2014 drone in Ukraine

It is unclear whether Ukraine’s security service knew at the time of its announcement that the downed craft came from its own side. At the very least its allegation of the possible presence of chemical materials seems a spectacular own goal.

The same might be said of the Guardian, which was handed an international scoop by its own online readers but chose instead to prevent further revelations and to persist with its own disproved story of an alleged Russian airspace violation.


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May 24, 2016 11:20 AM

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Oct 29, 2015 3:39 AM

Actually, it’s a dead ringer for one Kiev exhibited back in the Spring, when it showed off equipment it said had been captured in the East which proved Russian involvement.


Neither of the drones exhibited is actually Russian, and they look like home-builds. But they do look like the early stuff Zhytomyr was building when it was boasting about establishing a “drone school” to teach Ukrainian soldiers to fly them, and intended at the time to establish an operations center as well.

Oct 26, 2015 6:50 PM

Dear David Parker, thank you for providing a platform for this highly fascinating piece of information, but unfortunately something seems wrong with the link coming from your above: “The accompanying article reported that Ukraine expected to produce 30-40 such drones every month.” It leads to an article, which actually claims that the downed drone in Ukraine with chemical traces was of Russian origin, and such quite defeats the purpose of demonstrating that it’s of Ukrainian manufacture. This is the text there: “In ATO area unauthorized flight of Russian UAV was disrupted May 28, 2014 in the area of an antiterrorist operation the Security Service of Ukraine in cooperation with Ministry of Defense of Ukraine disrupted an unauthorized flight of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with unknown chemical substance. According to the preliminary expert examination, the aircraft is one of the serial modifications of the Orlan-10 UAV made by Russia, with… Read more »

Jennifer Hor
Jennifer Hor
Oct 26, 2015 11:10 PM
Reply to  Lusion

You have to go to The Guardian article itself:

and find the conversations dated 19 October 2015. You need to be fast because even though the comments forum is now closed, the comments there might still be subject to moderation and removal.

Oct 29, 2015 3:41 AM
Reply to  Jennifer Hor

It’s not even close to an Orlan.

tiny Hopr
tiny Hopr
Oct 25, 2015 11:46 PM

All media have an agenda. People on here seem to think that there is such a thing as real reporting. Ha u get trolled and mind controlled at that each and every day.

Oct 26, 2015 1:48 AM
Reply to  tiny Hopr

You are so cynical that you are naive. Why should we not think YOU don’t have an agenda too, O more trustworthy than any media one?

Care to explain why anybody should read anything?

Shall we just retire to some gibbering solipsism? Please help, you clearly have the greater grasp on reality.

Evgeniy Chasovikov
Evgeniy Chasovikov
Oct 25, 2015 7:36 PM

The second link – the one claiming to lead to an article stating that Ukraine is going to produce a number of these drones http://www.sbu.gov.ua/sbu/control/en/publish/article?art_id=126346&cat_id=35317 – leads to an article that just states that such a drone was shot down. Does anyone around here have a link to some kind of proof that these drones are Ukrainian in origin?

Amer Hudson
Amer Hudson
Oct 25, 2015 2:37 PM

The Guardian has become a joke – from a liberal newspaper into a Neo-liberal newspaper.

Of course, most Guardian readers recognise this. For how long, I wonder? Have many people noticed the sheer cynicism and disbelief often expressed BTL to that which appears ATL?

Oct 25, 2015 3:30 PM
Reply to  Amer Hudson

It’s also clear to me that they allow their comments section to be dominated by professional NATO trolls.

It’s not uncommon to see some of them (Truk, Psygone, Jezzam and others) post 200 times each on a single Russia themed thread.

a lot of the comments they make are just ad hominems directed at other posters, mainly accusing them of being Putinbots, in clear violation of the CiF rules.

Oct 25, 2015 2:20 PM

This is excellent, it clearly is the same as the drone downed in Turkey.

The Graun is unable to respond to this and it is evident that the truth was never their objective on reporting of Ukraine and Russia. Well done Parker, you get the Thunderbirds order of merit.

I joke, but it’s important to keep up the counter narrative to the Langley funded perception managed stuff that comes from the now right liberal rag the Graun! Once the home of investigative greats like Paul Foot and political satirists like Jeremy Harding. Sadly now the place of charlatans and leaches such as Luke Harding and Shaun “the Cheese Cake” Walker…

Oct 25, 2015 2:36 AM

Reblogged this on Siem Reap Mirror.

Jennifer Hor
Jennifer Hor
Oct 24, 2015 10:41 PM

Sorry, scrub out MTavernier’s name, I have read the full comments thread now.

Proper credit to David Parker himself for getting Google Translate to translate the article Mr Russian found, paragraph by paragraph, into English.

Jennifer Hor
Jennifer Hor
Oct 24, 2015 10:33 PM

This is excellent reporting. Hats off to David Parker and Off Guardian for the report, and to those online CiF commenters (Mr Russian, MTavernier) for connecting the drone to the drones developed at Zhytomyr Military Institute.

It is ironic that Mr Russian, MTavernier and others have done just what CiF was designed to allow commenters to do – bring news exclusives to The Guardian just for the love of doing so, with no reward or any hope of a reward attached – and The Guardian immediately battens down the hatches!