An unmanned US military drone collided with a Russian fighter jet in international airspace over the Black Sea and was destroyed in the incident. US forces should have brought the drone down after the collision, the US military said, complaining that "unsafe and unprofessional" action on the part of the Russian side caused the incident.
National Security Council communications director John Kirby said intercepts of this type are not, in and of themselves, uncommon. However, this case stands out due to the unsafe and unprofessional approach of the Russian side, which led to the complete loss of the drone. US President Joe Biden was informed of the incident.
The US military said two Russian fighter jets intercepted the American MQ-9 drone flying in international airspace over the Black Sea. One of the fighter jets hit a propeller of the American reconnaissance drone. US forces would then have had to bring the unmanned aerial vehicle to the ground. Before the collision, the Russian jets dumped fuel over the US drone several times and flew in front of it - in a reckless, environmentally harmful and unprofessional manner. This incident testifies to a "lack of competence".
USA: Will continue to operate in international airspace
The American drone was conducting a routine operation in international airspace "when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in the crash and complete loss of the MQ-9 aircraft," said James Hecker, commander of the US Air Force in Europe and Africa. "US and allied planes will continue to operate in international airspace and we urge the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely."
This incident is one in a series of dangerous actions by Russian pilots with US and Allied aircraft in international airspace, including over the Black Sea, the US military further lamented. These aggressive actions by the Russian aircraft crew are dangerous and could lead to misjudgments and unintended escalations.
In view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the situation is particularly tense and there are great fears of a possible direct military confrontation between the USA and Russia. The Americans are supporting Kiev on a large scale with military equipment, but have rigorously ruled out getting involved in the conflict with their own soldiers.