Russia claims no responsibility for drone crashing in Black Sea
March 16, 2023

In a recent development, Russian defense Ministry says that the US drone that crashed into the Black Sea on Tuesday did not come into contact with its fighter jets, as was previously claimed by the US, instead it was a result of “sharp maneuvering”.

On Tuesday, a US drone crash landed into the Black Sea while it was conducting routine operations in international airspace. US Airforce Gen. James B. Hecker claimed that the drone was hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a complete loss of the drone (MQ-9).

“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9,”

According to John F. Kirby, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Russian jets intercepting US planes over the Black Sea is common and that other intercepts had occurred in recent weeks. However, he considers the latest incident as “unsafe, unprofessional and reckless.”

However, the Russian government considered US’s claims as “baseless” and “irresponsible.” The defense ministry, in a statement on Tuesday, denied any contact between the drone and the Russian jets. However, they acknowledged that the fighter jets “scrambled to identify the intruder” over the Black Sea but the drone “went into an unguided flight with a loss of altitude.”

The ministry added, “the Russian fighters did not use their onboard weapons, did not come into contact with the UAV and returned safely to their home airfield.”

The incident is the first direct physical contact between Russian and US military aircraft since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago, and it is likely to escalate tensions between the two countries, with the US calling Russia’s actions “reckless, environmentally unsound, and unprofessional.”

Soon after the incident, the Russian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov was summoned to the State Department where he reiterated the stance of his government and said that Moscow did not seek “confrontation” between his country and the US.

The conflicting claims and statements from the US and Russian governments have raised tensions between the two countries, which have been at odds over a range of issues in recent years, including Syria and war in Ukraine.

Russian and US aircraft have flown over the Black Sea during the Ukraine conflict, but this is the first armed engagement and a dangerous escalation at a key time in the conflict which could have far reaching consequences.

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