The United States has released video of its drone being downed by a Russian jet over the Black Sea, near where Russia claims its “special military operation” airspace begins.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon confirmed that an unmanned U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper was pursued by two Russian Su-27 fighter jets, and ultimately brought down after one of the jets repeatedly flew in front of the drone, dumped its fuel overhead, and finally clipped its propeller.
Video released by the Pentagon shows the moment the incident took place. After the brief collision with the Russian jet, viewers can watch the Reaper’s propeller slowly stop moving, and the craft begin to lose altitude.
“It fell so close to Sevastopol that the Russians likely have it,” wrote Gonzalo Lira, a foreign journalist currently living in Ukraine. He added that the Russians are now likely “taking it apart to figure out how to jam it electronically.”
Like I told you a couple of days ago, here’s the footage of the Reaper drone incident, released by the US Air Force.
It fell so close to Sevastopol that the Russians likely have it, and are taking it apart to figure out how to jam it electronically.pic.twitter.com/9j2ioL3WrU
— Gonzalo Lira (@GonzaloLira1968) March 16, 2023
United States insists that its drone was behaving normally while flying in international when it was brought down, unprovoked, by the Russian pilot. In a statement, the Pentagon slammed the “reckless, environmentally unsound, and unprofessional manner” which Russia handled itself.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense, meanwhile, released its own statement in which it claimed the Reaper drone was behaving abnormally, and headed toward the airspace of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, at the time of the incident.
“The drone flight was carried out with its transponders turned off and violated the boundaries” of the country’s “Special Military Operation,” Russia’s MOD claimed. “As a result of sharp maneuvering at about 9:30 (Moscow time), the MQ-9 drone went into an unguided flight and collided with the water surface.”
Since the incident, Russia has announced plans to recover the drone, further escalating tensions with the United States.
“I don’t know if we will be able to get it or not, but we need to do it… And we will definitely look into it,”said Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, according to CNN.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov underscored this to reporters, telling them that the drone will be recovered and further actions will be taken in the Black Sea.
“This is the prerogative of the military,” said Peskov. “If they believe that it is necessary for our interests and our security in the Black Sea, they will do it.”
In the United States, meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham has suggested the country should respond with violence, and begin shooting down Russian jets that threaten U.S. Aircraft in international airspace, because it is what President Ronald Reagan would have wanted.