Germany, France offer drones to monitor eastern Ukraine; troop protection hampers deployment

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BERLIN — Germany and France have offered to send drone aircraft to Ukraine to monitor the country's volatile east, but their deployment depends upon resolving the question of troop protection.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier provided details of the German side of the offer Friday, saying Berlin could send two unarmed surveillance drones to assist the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's effort to monitor the cease-fire agreement between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists.

But the German soldiers operating the drones would require armed protection, something the mandate of the OSCE mission doesn't currently allow.

After meeting with Steinmeier, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said parliamentary approval is needed to allow armed foreign troops in the country.

It is unclear if such approval is possible before the Oct. 26 parliamentary election in Ukraine.

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