In a dramatic incident over the Black Sea, a US surveillance drone was involved in a collision with a Russian fighter jet, sparking controversy and diplomatic tensions. The US military alleges that the Russian Su-27 aircraft dumped fuel on the MQ-9 Reaper drone, flew around it multiple times, and then struck its propeller, ultimately bringing it down in international waters. However, the Russian Defense Ministry has contradicted these claims, contending that the drone had entered an area that was off-limits to flights and had gone into uncontrollable flight before colliding with the water surface.
The incident has sparked concerns over the recovery of sensitive technology by Russia and has raised the stakes in already-tense relations between the two countries. While there have been many military intercepts between US and Russian aircraft in both the Pacific and the Black Sea, this particular collision has brought the situation to the forefront of international attention.
According to the US military, the MQ-9 Reaper drone was conducting a routine surveillance mission when it was intercepted by the Russian Su-27. The US alleges that the fighter jet flew dangerously close to the drone before dumping fuel on it, circling it several times, and ultimately striking its propeller. The drone was then brought down in international waters.
In contrast, the Russian Defense Ministry contends that the drone was flying in an area that was off-limits to flights and had gone into an uncontrollable spin before hitting the water. The Ministry further stated that it had not violated any international norms during the incident and had acted in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations.
The collision has prompted a diplomatic protest from the US, which has called on Russia to return the drone’s wreckage. The US has also expressed concerns that sensitive technology on board the drone could fall into Russian hands. Meanwhile, Russia has denied any wrongdoing and has criticized the US for its surveillance activities in the region.
The incident has highlighted tensions between the two countries, which have been at odds over a range of issues in recent years, including the conflict in Syria and allegations of Russian interference in the US presidential election. Both sides have accused the other of dangerous and provocative behavior in the region.
The collision is the latest in a series of incidents involving US and Russian military aircraft in the Black Sea, where tensions have been high since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. In recent years, both sides have increased their military presence in the region, with the US conducting more frequent surveillance missions and Russia stepping up its naval patrols.
The incident has underscored the risks associated with such military activity, with the potential for accidents and misunderstandings to escalate into a larger conflict. It remains to be seen whether the incident will lead to further diplomatic or military action, or whether both sides will seek to deescalate tensions in the region.