Russian Fighter Jet Collides With US Drone Over Black Sea

Russian Fighter Jet Collides With US Drone Over Black Sea

A Russian fighter jet collided with a US surveillance drone in international airspace above the Black Sea, causing the American aircraft to crash, the Pentagon said, an incident that ratcheted up tensions already running high over the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s defense ministry denied the US claim, saying its jets didn’t come into contact with the drone, according to a statement posted on Telegram. The statement said the drone’s transponders were off, and it flew out of control and crashed “as a result of sharp maneuvering” and that the Russian aircraft returned safety to their base.

US officials had a different description of the event. The US European command said the Su-27 warplane, accompanied by a second Russian jet, struck the propeller of the MQ-9 Reaper drone in what was an “unsafe and unprofessional” intercept at around 7 a.m. local time. The two Russian fighter jets flew in front of and dumped fuel on the drone before the strike, it 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,” Air Force General James Hecker said. “In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”

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