Russian fighter pilots involved in Encounter with US drone The Department of Defense announced on Friday. The move appears to signal Moscow’s intention to adopt a more proactive stance toward future US surveillance flights.
“Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu presented state awards to Su-27 pilots who prevented US MQ-9 drones from violating (Russian) temporary airspace,” the ministry said. .
US military said they threw it away Air Force MQ-9 Reaper Two Russian fighter jets dropped fuel on a drone, one of which struck a propeller while flying in international airspace, in the Black Sea on Tuesday. He denied a collision and claimed the plane crashed during a sharp maneuver.The fighter jets said they responded to Russia’s violation of a no-fly zone set in an area near Crimea Ukraine.
On Friday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu praised pilots for blocking drones from flying into areas Moscow has banned. The defense ministry said the ban was “in line with international standards.” Moscow reiterated its stance that the pilots “returned safely to their home airfields without using on-board weapons and without contact with UAVs.”
Moscow’s announcement comes a day after the US military released declassified documents 42 seconds video A Russian Su-27 fighter approaches behind a U.S. drone, releasing fuel as it passes in a maneuver that appears to be intended to blind the drone’s optics and force it out of the area. .
The same jet or another Russian Su-27 that was chasing the MQ-9 hit the drone’s propeller during the second approach, damaging the blades, according to the US military. Video excerpts show damage to the propeller, but not the crash.
US and Russian defense and military heads spoke Wednesday about the drone’s destruction and underscored the seriousness of the event. It was the first phone call between the Defense Minister and the Chief of the Russian General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov, since October.
While condemning Russia’s “reckless” actions, the White House sought to avoid escalating tensions. US officials stressed that lines of communication with Moscow remain open.
White House top national security spokesman John Kirby told CBS News The incident does not interfere with missions or lead to future U.S. military escorts of drone flights.
“This was a deliberate, aggressive, overly aggressive move by this pilot,” Kirby told CBS News on this week’s episode of “Takeout.”
Kirby said If the Russians manage to recover The wreckage of the MQ-9 Reaper drone from the Black Sea is worth almost nothing.
“They’re not going to find anything of intrinsic value, I can assure you that,” Kirby said. We have taken steps, whatever remains on the surface…could be wing fragments or fuselage.I doubt it would be of any value to anyone.In regards to information…we …I’m not worried about them getting anything of value. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to recover something like that.”
Russian officials also stressed the need to maintain contact, but sharply condemned the US action for arrogant disregard for Russia’s no-fly zones.
“This is a clear sign that Russia will continue to shoot down American drones,” wrote pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergey Markov in a comment on the award announcement. “This decision will receive strong support from the Russian community, who are asking the government to step up its policies.”
Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern over US intelligence flights near Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014, amid strong international condemnation. accusing the United States and its allies of effectively becoming involved in the conflict.
Some Russian officials have accused US surveillance flights of helping intelligence gathering and allowing Ukraine to strike Russian targets.
AFP contributed to this report.