The U.S. military released footage on Thursday of the intercept by a Russian warplane of an Air Force drone over the Black Sea.
The video, taken by the MQ-9 Reaper drone’s camera, shows the plane spraying it with fuel and clipping its propeller, forcing the U.S. to bring the $32 million drone down.
U.S. military releases video showing a Russian Su-27 fighter jet colliding with an American MQ-9 Reaper drone above the Black Sea earlier this week. pic.twitter.com/4wrHauzObC— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) March 16, 2023
According to a previous statement, the "two Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept with a U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 aircraft that was operating within international airspace over the Black Sea" which caused "complete loss of the MQ-9,” EUCOM said.
Prior to the collision, the jet poured fuel on the MQ-9 and flew in front of it “in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” the military added. “This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.”
Full statement from the US European command on the incident between Russian Su-27 and an American MQ-9 drone in the black sea— Faytuks News Δ (@Faytuks) March 14, 2023
"This unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash"https://t.co/VazXUuTOJp pic.twitter.com/vMMyCKbl2m
The video, edited for time, stands in contrast to the Russian defense ministry's statement claiming "Russian fighters did not use airborne weapons and did not come into contact with the American drone. Due to sharp maneuvering, the American drone went into uncontrolled flight with a loss of altitude and collided with the water surface."
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a Pentagon press briefing that he spoke with his Russian counterpart, Minister Sergei Shoigu, on Wednesday about the incident.
“It's important that great powers be models of transparency and communication, and the United States will continue to fly and to operate wherever international law allows,” he said.
Shoigu, meanwhile, reportedly made clear that Russia sees the operation of American drones near the Crimea coastline as “provocative in nature” and which creates “pre-conditions for an escalation of the situation in the Black Sea zone.”