According to the American military, a Russian fighter plane collided with a US drone, sending the “unmanned US aircraft” crashing into the Black Sea.
The incident shows how likely it is that Russia and the US may directly clash over the crisis in Ukraine. Two Russian jets attempted to intercept the drone, according to the US, which was reportedly on a routine mission in international airspace. Russia stated the drone fell after a sharp movement and denied that the two aircraft got crashed.
The MQ-9 Reaper drone’s transponders were reportedly off while it was in the air, according to the Russian defense ministry. Transponders are communication tools that make it possible to track an aircraft.
With a 20-meter reach, Reaper drones are surveillance aircraft. According to the US military, the event took place on Tuesday at about 07:03 Central European Time.
Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador in Washington, was summoned by the US to express objections to the action.
According to Antonov, Moscow viewed the drone incident as “a provocation” after the meeting, as reported by Russian state media.
Ever since Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, tensions have increased over the Black Sea. Despite constantly flying in international airspace, the US and the UK have increased their surveillance and reconnaissance missions since Russia’s proper war on Ukraine. The main issue is whether Tuesday’s interaction was an attempt by Russia to obstruct the US drone’s operations or a planned effort to bring it down.
To prevent the conflict in Ukraine from turning into a direct conflict with Russia, Western allies have made significant efforts. Yet, that is all that this occurrence over the Black Sea is. The US will now need to assess its response.
This was a risky operation that “may lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation,” as US military chiefs cautioned in their statement.