Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Croatia Remains One of Safest States, Milanović Says

ZAGREB, 15 March 2022 - Croatia remains one of the safest states with the safest cities because "that's a tradition", President and Armed Forces Commander in Chief Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday, adding that Croatia had a quite high level of public security throughout history.

"In that system (communism) and in this system we have always been a country where you could let a child walk out at ten at night. It's been known to happen that some gangs in Split go wild and start shooting with Kalashnikovs, then nothing happens for 100 years," Milanović said at Zemunik Air Base.

He reiterated that the odds of a drone crashing in Zagreb again as it did last week were small, adding that he believed the Hungarians had learnt something from the incident and that it was necessary to strengthen the air defence.

As for the French Rafale fighter jets flying over Zagreb this afternoon, the president said, "they are welcome if they can do that constantly, because it's difficult to control the sky 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At the moment, probably nobody is doing that, not even Israel."

He called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to "restrain his associates so that they don't babble about the results of the investigation" into the drone crash until it was over.

"Once again I'm calling on, first and foremost the prime minister, who more or less watches what he says, but some of his associates act like silly children," Milanović said.

The investigation is being done by the General Staff's intelligence regiment, he said, adding that everything they knew he did, too, in real time, but that he did not talk about it until definitive data and conclusions were available.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Drone Which Crashed in Zagreb Was Unarmed, Stoltenberg Says

ZAGREB, 15 March 2022 - NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday the indications available so far were that a drone which crashed in Zagreb last Thursday was unarmed and that it was not an armed attack.

Asked about the incident, Stoltenberg said at a press conference that the preliminary information available so far indicated it was not an intentional attack, but that such cases were also dangerous, so NATO increased surveillance.

A Soviet-made unmanned aerial vehicle crashed in a residential area in Zagreb shortly after 11 pm last Thursday, having entered Croatia's airspace from Hungary and Hungary's from Romania.

Stoltenberg recalled that he discussed the incident with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Sunday.

The alliance's secretary-general said the investigation was still under way and the facts were being established, but the indications so far were that the drone did not carry a bomb nor explosive but was a reconnaissance drone.

The drone ran out of fuel and crashed in Zagreb, he added.

Stoltenberg also said that Croatia, Hungary and Romania were yet to exchange all information on this incident and cooperate more closely.

Saturday, 12 March 2022

SDP Main Committee Says Government Should Resign

ZAGREB, 12 March 2022 - The Social Democratic Party's Main Committee on Saturday supported the SDP parliamentary group in a motion to dissolve parliament, and concluded that the government cannot become better by changing a minister or two, that it is spent, does not govern well, and should step down.

Crises can no longer be an alibi for politically unsuccessful action, Main Committee chair Marija Lugarić told the press.

The committee concluded that the government's anti-inflation measures are not enough as they do not take into account the aggression on Ukraine and the war's impact on inflation. 

SDP president Peđa Grbin said the party was proposing to index pensions either with salary or inflation growth and to abolish VAT on fuel excises.

He said it was time to start talking about a new economic model which would not rest solely on tourism.

Commenting on a drone which crashed in Zagreb on Thursday night, Grbin said something was not working security-wise nor in communication with the neighbours. Hungary should have notified us that the drone had crossed their territory, he added.

Grbin said he expected the prime minister to say clearly what went wrong and how he would prevent such things from happening again. If it happens again, the reaction should be much faster and more organised, and citizens should be informed better so that there is no panic, he added.

Grbin said he expected NATO to investigate the matter and say clearly why the information system failed.

"If the drone ended up in Croatia by accident, that's not good because the warning system failed, and if it was by accident, that's very, very bad because it means that not only Croatia but NATO, too, have somehow been dragged into the conflict," he added. 

Saturday, 12 March 2022

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković Visits Drone Crash Site in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 12 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković visited the drone crash site in Zagreb on Saturday morning. 

A Soviet-era unmanned aerial vehicle crashed in the Jarun area of southeast Zagreb on Thursday night. 

The drone was launched from the territory of Ukraine and crashed in Zagreb shortly after 11 pm on Thursday after running out of fuel, having flown over Romania and Hungary.

"We don't know whose it is, everyone says it isn't theirs," Plenković said. He added that it was down to luck that no one had been hurt, apart from about 40 cars that had been damaged in a nearby car park.

"This indicates the need for closer cooperation within NATO itself because this is NATO's air space, as well as Romania's Hungary's and Croatia's. We cannot tolerate this kind of situation and it should not happen in the future. This was a very clear and present threat which requires a response," the prime minister said.

Plenković said that he would raise this issue in all NATO and EU institutions and call for an effective and rapid response. He added that yesterday he had informed all EU leaders of what had happened and had sent a letter to NATO's secretary-general noting that something like this could happen to other cities.

Theoretically speaking, this could have been Budapest, Ljubljana or Bratislava, but what is important is for us to step up our cooperation, he said.

"Was it accidental, was it an error, was it intentional, we don't know at this moment," Plenković said, adding that the incident was being investigated by the military, police, and the State Attorney's Office.

He said that the drone would be dug out of the ground to see if contained any valuable information, and the authorities would contact other countries for more information.

The prime minister was accompanied by relevant government officials.

For more on politics, visit TCN's dedicated page.

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