Russian jet downs U.S. drone over Black Sea
The Pentagon European Command, on Thursday, released a declassified video of a Russian jet spraying a substance on an unarmed U.S. drone before it crashed in the Black Sea.
The 42-second video showed the encounter between the Russian Su-27 fighter jet and the American MQ-9 Reaper Drone. The Russian fighter jet sprayed the American drone with a substance that the Pentagon called jet fuel.
Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, summarised the incident Wednesday in a press conference, saying, “Two Russian jets dumped fuel on an unmanned U.S. MQ-9 aircraft conducting routine operations in international airspace. And one Russian jet intercepted and hit our MQ-9 aircraft, resulting in a crash.”
Mr Austin criticised the Russian military stating that the incident “ is part of a pattern of aggressive, risky, and unsafe actions by Russian pilots in international airspace.”
Russia has denied any wrongdoing, blaming the crash on faulty manoeuvering by the American drone operators. They also accused the U.S. of unnecessarily escalating the issue.
“We assume that the United States will refrain from further speculation in the media and stop flights near Russian borders,” said Russian Ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, on Wednesday.
Russia, on Wednesday, unveiled its plans to recover the wreckage of the downed American aircraft.
Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, said on state television that the Russian military would try to locate the downed MQ-9 Reaper drone and retrieve the wreckage.
U.S. officials also said they were looking for the wreckage of the downed drone but are unsure whether it could be recovered.
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