U.S. accuses Russia of shooting down a drone over the Black Sea

US Drone Black Sea Russia
Source: Pixabay

According to media accounts, a US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drone was shot down over the Black Sea after what its European Command (EUCOM) termed as a “unsafe and unprofessional intercept” by two Russian fighters.

When the jets approached, the “Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance” platform was “working within international airspace,” according to EUCOM. Since one of the Su-27s “hit the MQ-9’s propeller,” the operators dropped the drone into the water.

“Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” the US military complained, accusing the Russians of “a lack of competence”, RT reported.

General James Hecker, the commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Africa, said the drone was conducting routine operations in international airspace”¬†and that the accident had resulted in a “total loss” of the MQ-9.

EUCOM said the US “routinely” undertakes drone flights in international airspace to “bolster collective European defence and security” and “support Allied, partner, and US national objectives”. Hecker said the flights would continue, asking on the Russians “to conduct themselves properly and safely”.

The Russian Defense Ministry and the Kremlin have yet to comment on the purported incident.

While asserting that it is not a participant to the conflict, the US has admitted to supplying Ukraine with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information. According to RT, US and NATO spy planes routinely fly over the Black Sea and approach Crimea, often just before Ukrainian forces launch strikes on the Russian territory.

Last week, a US strategic bomber launched a mock missile attack on St. Petersburg while remaining in international and NATO airspace.