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A Russian plane harassed and then collided with a US drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday, forcing the US to shoot down the MQ-9 Reaper drone in international waters, US European Command said. .
“Our MQ-9 aircraft was performing 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,” the general said. US Air Force James B. Hecker, Commander. US Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa. “In fact, this dangerous and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused the two planes to crash.”
Two Russian Su-27 planes followed the US surveillance drone as it flew in international airspace over the Black Sea, which borders Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, among other countries. Prior to the collision, the jets “spilled fuel and flew past the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unfriendly and unprofessional manner,” according to a statement from US European Command.
Around 7 a.m., one of the jets struck the drone’s propeller, forcing the United States to bring it down.
The European Command statement said the incident “demonstrates a lack of skill” on the part of the Russians “in addition to being dangerous and unprofessional”, and is part of a pattern of dangerous behavior by Russian pilots when they interact with US allied aircraft.
“U.S. and allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace, and we call on Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely,” Hecker said.
The United States said it regularly flies planes to Europe in sovereign and international airspace in accordance with international law and with the approval of host nations “to enhance collective European defense and security” and “to support allied, partner and US national objectives. ”