Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that its warplanes did not come into contact with a US drone that crashed in the Black Sea, claiming instead that the drone crashed due to “maneuvering.” abrupt.”

“The Russian fighters did not use their onboard weapons, did not come into contact with the UAV, and returned safely to their home airfield,” the Defense Ministry stated.

A Russian Su-27 fighter intercepted and struck the propeller of a US military MQ-9 “Reaper ” surveillance drone on Tuesday, causing it to crash in the Black Sea, in the first such incident since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Interception of the US spy drone before one of them collided with it at 7:03 a.m. local time.

“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, leading to an accident and the complete loss of the MQ-9,” the Air Force General said in a statement.

 American James Hecker, who oversees the US Air Force in the region.

“In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians almost caused the two aircraft to crash.”

Several times before the collision, Russian fighters dropped fuel on the MQ-9 – possibly trying to blind or damage it – and flew in front of the drone in unsafe maneuvers, the US military said.

Russia’s Su-27 Flanker

There was no immediate comment from Moscow.

The United States will summon the Russian ambassador to Washington to discuss the incident on Tuesday afternoon local time, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

The US ambassador in Moscow has conveyed a strong message to the Russian Foreign Ministry and US officials have briefed allies and partners about the incident; Price told reporters in a telephone briefing.

The US military said the incident followed a pattern of dangerous behavior by Russian pilots operating near planes flown by the US and its allies, including over the Black Sea. The Black Sea is between Europe and Asia and is bordered by Russia and Ukraine, among other countries.

President Joe Biden was briefed on Tuesday of an incident over the Black Sea in which a Russian Su-27 fighter crashed into the propeller of a US military “Reaper” surveillance drone, White House spokesman John Kirby said.

While there have been other such interceptions, Kirby said, this one was noteworthy because it was “unsafe and unprofessional” and caused the downing of a US plane. “So it’s unique in that way,” Kirby said.

“The State Department will speak directly to their Russian counterparts and express our concerns about this unprofessional and unsafe wiretapping,” Kirby said.

NATO informs its allies about the Black Sea incident 

NATO’s commander in Europe, US Army General Christopher Cavoli, briefed NATO allies about the incident, which was roundly condemned by the White House and the Pentagon, which warned of the risk of escalation.

“General (Christopher) Cavoli has briefed NATO allies about the incident today,” the official told Reuters.

The US Air Force said a Russian Su-27 fighter jet had struck the propeller of the “Reaper” surveillance drone on Tuesday, causing it to crash into the Black Sea in an incident condemned as “reckless” by the US Army.

Recent activity of Russian drones

On Sunday, for the first time in almost two weeks, a Russian salvo of Iranian-made kamikaze drones was launched against Ukrainian targets, the British Defense Ministry reported in a March 1 intelligence update.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces had reportedly shot down 11 of the 14 Shahed-136 drones launched on February 26, nine of which were shot down in Kyiv airspace.

According to Britain’s Defense Ministry, the drones were likely launched from Russia’s Bryansk Oblast, indicating that the Kremlin had set up a new launch site to allow better access to Kyiv. Earlier, he had said that the only observed launch point was in the Krasnodar region.

Via: the Jerusalem Post