US says Russian warplane hits American drone over Black Sea
A Russian fighter jet struck the propeller of a U.S. surveillance drone over the Black Sea on March 14 in a "brazen violation of international law," causing American forces to bring down the unmanned aerial vehicle, the U.S. said.
But Russia insisted its warplanes didn't hit the MQ-9 Reaper drone. Instead, it said the drone maneuvered sharply and crashed into the water following an encounter with Russian fighter jets that had been scrambled to intercept it near Crimea.
The incident, which added to Russia-U.S. tensions over Moscow's war in Ukraine, appeared to be the first time since the height of the Cold War that a U.S. aircraft was brought down after an encounter with a Russian warplane.
U.S. President Joe Biden was briefed on the incident by national security adviser Jake Sullivan, according to White House national security spokesman John Kirby. He added that U.S. State Department officials would be speaking directly with their Russian counterparts and "expressing our concerns over this unsafe and unprofessional intercept."
State Department spokesman Ned Price called it a "brazen violation of international law." He said the U.S. summoned the Russian ambassador to lodge a protest and the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, has made similar representations in Moscow.
The U.S. European Command said two Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted the drone while it was operating within international airspace. It said one of the Russian fighters struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to bring it down in international waters.
Prior to that, the Su-27s dumped fuel on the MQ-9 and flew in front of it several times in "a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner," the U.S. European Command said in...