Russian aircraft struck drone over international waters

  • Two Russian aircraft intercepted a U.S. drone over the Black Sea
  • Officials described the collision as "dangerous and unprofessional"
  • There have been other intercepts in recent weeks

(NewsNation) — Military officials confirmed Russian fighter jets struck a U.S. drone over international waters.

Two Russian Su-27 aircraft intercepted a U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 aircraft over the Black Sea. One aircraft struck the propeller of the drone, requiring it to be brought down in international waters.

U.S. Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker, commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, confirmed the incident.

“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,” he said.

Military leaders said before the crash, one of the Russian planes dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a “reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner.”

The crash was described as part of a pattern of dangerous actions from Russian pilots interacting with U.S. and allied aircraft in international airspace.

“U.S. and Allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely,” Hecker added.

President Joe Biden was briefed on the collision, which National Security Adviser John Kirby described as “not uncommon,” noting there have been other intercepts in recent weeks.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the U.S. drone was flying over the Black Sea near Crimea and intruded in the area that was declared off limits by Russia as part of what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, causing the military to scramble fighters to intercept it.

“As a result of sharp maneuver, the MQ-9 drone went into uncontrollable flight with a loss of altitude and crashed into water,” it said. “The Russian fighters didn’t use their weapons or impact the unmanned aerial vehicle, and they safely returned to their base.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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