A Russian fighter shot down a US Air Force drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday after damaging the propeller of the US MQ-9 Reaper drone, according to a US official familiar with the incident.
The Reaper drone and two SU-27 Flanker jets were operating in international waters over the Black Sea when one of the Russian jets intentionally flew ahead and dumped fuel in front of the unmanned drone, according to the official.
One of the jets damaged the Reaper’s propeller, which is mounted on the back of the drone, the officer said. Damage to the propeller forced the US to shoot down the Reaper in international waters in the Black Sea.
The US Air Force issued a statement accusing the Russian aircraft of acting in a “reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional” manner.
“At approximately 7:03 am, one of the Russian Su-27 aircraft hit the MQ-9’s propeller, causing U.S. forces to shoot down the MQ-9 in international waters,” said U.S. Air Force General James B. Hecker, commander of US Air Forces Europe and Africa.
He completed by saying that “several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner. This incident demonstrates a lack of competence, as well as being unsafe and unprofessional.”
President Joe Biden was briefed on the incident by national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Tuesday morning, according to National Security Council communications coordinator John Kirby.
Kirby He said it was “not uncommon” for Russian aircraft to intercept US aircraft over the Black Sea and said there had been other interceptions in recent weeks.
But he said this episode was unique in terms of how “unsafe, unprofessional and reckless” Russian actions were.
A CNN asked the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment and is awaiting a response.
Russian and US aircraft operated over the Black Sea during the war in Ukraine, but this is the first known interaction, a potentially dangerous escalation at a critical moment in the fighting.
Source: CNN Brasil
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