Russia, U.S. trade barbs over drone crash

Washington has accused Russian fighter jets of colliding with and damaging an American unmanned aerial vehicle over the Black Sea causing the drone to crash in the waters on Tuesday.

Russia’s defense ministry and ambassador to the United States, however, denied that the Su-27 jets that were scrambled to identify the US MQ-9 Reaper came into contact with the drone and caused it to crash.

‘The American UAV was moving deliberately and provocatively towards the Russian.’

“Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” the US European Command said, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9,” US Air Force General James Hecker, commander of US Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, also said, AFP reported.

Moscow has a different narrative, however.

“As a result of a sharp maneuver… the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle entered an uncontrolled flight with loss of altitude and collided with the surface of the water,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that the two Russian jets did not use their weapons.

Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov, who was summoned by the State Department in Washington, echoed the ministry’s explanation in a communique issued Wednesday.

Antonov also said that the American UAV was moving deliberately and provocatively towards the Russian territory with its transponders turned off in violation of the boundaries of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation in Ukraine, Tass reported.

“We perceive any actions involving the use of American weapons and military equipment as openly hostile,” Antonov added, according to Tass.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization diplomats in Brussels, Belgium confirmed the incident, but said they did not expect it to immediately escalate into a further confrontation, according to AFP

“To my mind, diplomatic channels will mitigate this,” the source said.

Meanwhile, Hecker said, “US and allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely.”

The US uses MQ-9 Reapers for both surveillance and strikes and has long operated over the Black Sea keeping an eye on Russian naval forces.

Read more Daily Tribune stories at:

Follow us on social media
Facebook: @tribunephl
Youtube: TribuneNow
Twitter: @tribunephl
Instagram: @tribunephl
TikTok: @dailytribuneofficial