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Russian fighter jets took aggressive military action against a U.S. Air Force drone over international waters and destroyed it by forcing it to crash-land into the Black Sea, the U.S. European Command announced.
According to the U.S. military, two Russian warplanes dumped fuel on the U.S. drone, flew in front of it, and one of them struck its propeller.
This led the U.S. forces to bring it down in the Black Sea, thus losing it completely, Newsmax reported.
The two Russian jets were of the Su-27 type, a fourth-generation fighter plane, while the U.S. drone was the dreaded MQ-9 Reaper.
The northern part of the Black Sea, which is the size of California, has seen military action since, in February 2022, Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine.
The small Ukrainian navy was destroyed, but the Ukrainians managed to sink or damage 18 Russian ships using ground-launched rockets and drones.
Besides Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia, the other three Black Sea countries are U.S. allies in NATO – Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria.
The U.S. military didn’t reveal from where it had launched the MQ-9 Reaper drone that it lost because of the Russians.
“This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional,” the U.S. European Command said.
“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,” declared U.S. Air Force Gen. James Hecker.
“In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash,” added the commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa.
“U.S. and Allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace, and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely,” he added.
The United States has supported Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression with massive military aid but has been careful not to get involved in direct military action with Moscow.
“This incident follows a pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with U.S. and Allied aircraft over international airspace, including over the Black Sea. These aggressive actions by Russian aircrew are dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation,” the U.S. European Command added.
“U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa routinely fly aircraft throughout Europe over sovereign territory and throughout international airspace in coordination with applicable host nation and international laws. In order to bolster collective European defense and security, these missions support Allied, partner, and U.S. national objectives,” the command elaborated.
The Pentagon explained that the U.S. drone had to be crashed into the sea after the damage it suffered from the Russian plane’s deliberate collision.
“Because of the damage, we were in a position to have to essentially crash into the Black Sea,” Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters,
He said the collision had made the Reaper unflyable and added that Russia had not recovered the crashed drone.
The U.S. State Department summoned the Russian ambassador in Washington, DC, to answer questions about the incident.
“We have been flying over that airspace consistently now for a year … and we’re going to continue to do that,” said White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.
Two Russian Su-27 aircraft dumped fuel on and flew in front of an unmanned U.S. MQ-9 drone above the Black Sea on Tuesday, with one striking the American asset and causing it to crash. https://t.co/tcZOS6SfwV
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) March 14, 2023