Two Russian army fighter planes, Su-27s, are believed to be responsible for the destruction of an American Reaper drone over the Black Sea, an area closely monitored by NATO since the start of the war in Ukraine , announced the US military.
“Our MQ-9 drone was performing routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in the crash and loss of the MQ-9,” said General James Hecker, commander of the American armed forces in Europe and Africa.
Washington immediately denounced a “rash” act by the Russians, according to the White House.
The Russian military has denied causing the downing of the drone.
John Kirby, spokesman for the US Executive’s National Security Council, noted that there have been interceptions of US drones by Russian aircraft in the past, but added that this incident was “unique “ . not least because it resulted in the loss of the Reaper.
According to the US Army Europe Command (USEUCOM), during a “routine” mission, two Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jets spotted the drone. They reportedly first spilled fuel and then collided with the US drone operating in international airspace over the Black Sea today, causing the drone to crash.
The U.S. military says “this incident follows a series of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with U.S. and allied aircraft in international airspace, including over the Black Sea.” .
A sign that the incident is at this stage under control, the USEUCOM contents itself in its press release with recommending to the Russian pilots to carry out their operations in a professional and safe manner.
The US military also indicates that it will continue, with its allies, to conduct operations in international airspace.
The US State Department “intends to contact Russian officials and convey our concern directly to them,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
“If the message that (the Russians) want to send is to deter us from flying and operating in international airspace over the Black Sea, then that message will fail, because that’s not going to happen.” , he said.
“The Black Sea does not belong to any one nation and we will continue to do what is necessary to ensure our national security in this part of the world ,” the spokesperson insisted.
Source : Fr Euronews