The United States has denounced an act “thoughtless”, “non-professional” and “dangerous”, and summoned the Russian ambassador. The Russian Minister of Defense denied all contact between the devices.
by Piotr Smolar (Washington, Correspondent) and Cédric Pietrapunga
This is the first direct incident between the United States and Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine. Tuesday, March 14, a Russian SUKHOI SUKHOI SU-27 hunter collided with an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea, causing the loss of control and the fall of the latter. “Our drone was carrying out routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and affected by a Russian plane, causing the crash and the loss of the MQ-9,” said General James Hecker, commander of the US air forces In Europe, in a press release published in the late afternoon.
According to Washington, two SU-27 Russians have repeatedly approached American Reaper “in a reckless” and “spilled fuel” before him, probably to blind him, before a shock at the Helic does not lead the American army to precipitate the unarmed apparatus in the waters. An act “thoughtless”, “non-professional” and “dangerous”, said John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council. The American official said that several similar interceptions had taken place above the Black Sea in recent weeks, but that the destruction of the reaper was a first.
In a statement published Tuesday evening, the Russian Minister of Defense denied any involvement of his aircraft in the fall, ensuring that if his hunters had worn well in front of the Reaper, they had not “entered” In contact “with him and had” not used airborne weapons “to shoot him down. According to Moscow, the drone was flying “extinguished transponders” and “violated a temporary regime for the use of airspace” fixed by Russia to carry out its military operations. Following the crash, an American maritime recognition plane P-8A Poseidon was flying in a circle on Tuesday off the coasts, probably to check if Russian ships were trying to recover debris from the aircraft.
“It’s like at the West West”
Since the start of the war, Westerners have almost daily spy planes above the Black Sea, in order to collect optical, radar or electromagnetic information on Russian positions and operations, then provided to the army of Kiev. Legal actions – aircraft remain in international airspace – but which annoy the Russians, sometimes tempted to intimidate them. On September 29, 2022, a Russian SU-27 had already pulled a missile near a British RC-35 intelligence plane which patrolled over the Black Sea, without touching it. Moscow had pleaded a “technical dysfunction”.
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