US drone crashes after incident with Russian jets
The US has lost a drone over the Black Sea. The unmanned reconnaissance machine of the type MQ-9battle name reapers, fell into the water on Tuesday morning and was destroyed, according to the US command for Europe. Previously have a Russian Su-27– Fighter jet touched the propeller on the tail of the more than $ 30 million drone.
The reapers was, according to the American account, on a routine flight in international airspace when she arrived at seven o’clock local time from two Su-27– Fighter jets was harassed. The pilots flew in front of the drone several times and poured fuel on it, which was “reckless, unsafe for the environment and unprofessional,” the United States European Command said in a statement.
“Unsafe and unprofessional action by the Russians”
Then one of the Russian jets brought down the drone. According to Air Force General James B. Hecker, the pilot was almost doomed: “The unsafe and unprofessional actions of the Russians almost caused both aircraft to crash.”
However, the United States and its allies would not be dissuaded from reconnaissance missions in international airspace, Hecker said. The US State Department is now intervening with the Russian authorities, said John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, in Washington. The Russian ambassador was summoned. President Joe Biden was informed of the crash.
The US regularly overflies the Black Sea. More than a year ago, even before Russia invaded Ukraine, they stepped up drone flights, according to Kirby. Since then, Russian jets have repeatedly tried to intercept American aircraft. The current incident stands out because it led to the crash of the drone.
The incident fuels fears of an accident with unintended consequences if machines Nato and Russia’s operate in close proximity to each other. Even during the Syrian war, there was a fear that they could unintentionally clash.
NATO shows presence in the Black Sea
The situation over the Black Sea has been deteriorating for years. After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Vladimir Putin’s troops began to behave much more aggressively around the Ukrainian peninsula.
Russia claims waters and areas of airspace that are considered Ukrainian under international law, as the annexation of Crimea is not recognized by the international community. Russian units have repeatedly forced NATO ships to take evasive action, sometimes with warning shots.
It is not known exactly where the US drone flew. The Russian army asserted that their jets had not attacked them, that they had crashed due to risky manoeuvres. The version circulating in nationalist circles reapers crashed just a few dozen kilometers off the south-west coast of Crimea, violating Russian airspace.
Such an incident was bound to happen sooner or later, commented a Russian military blogger who has good connections to the security forces. NATO is constantly active with drones over the Black Sea to help the Ukrainian army. Given the Ukrainian drone shelling of Crimea, it was only logical that Russia viewed the US drone as hostile.
Russia is reacting more and more aggressively
The Russian Air Force is increasingly harassing aircraft from other countries in what is undisputedly international airspace near Russian borders. It is particularly aggressive over the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, as the US think tank Rand Corporation has shown through an investigation of hundreds of incidents. Just a few years ago, Russian pilots signaled their displeasure by showing their jets’ unarmed underwings as they flew by. Meanwhile, the Russians fly closer to display the missile-tipped wings. About two years ago they approached one over the Black Sea B-52-US bomber participating in a NATO exercise at 30 meters.
The Russians often fly past another plane at a short distance. The more daring such maneuvers, the greater the risk of an accident. American security experts assume that this almost didom the Russian jet on Tuesday: Instead of throwing the drone off its course, it accidentally touched its propeller.
The nationalist Kremlin loyalist Dmitry Rogozin, once head of the Russian space agency and now allegedly a volunteer in Ukraine, celebrated this as a heroic deed: “Bravo guys! I congratulate the glorious Russian aviators. Keep it up!”