Unmanned military drone patrols the territory, flying over the disrtict of city

Russian Fighter Jet and American Drone Collide Over Black Sea

Forces in Washington and Moscow are pointing fingers at each other after a Russian fighter jet and an American drone collided over the Black Sea. The Pentagon is concerned about Russia pilfering military secrets from the downed drone, while Russia says it’s worried that America is threatening its military.

The Pentagon has floated the idea that it might swiftly declassify and release video footage of the crash to corroborate the American version of events. There are still numerous unknowns about the incident, but it could spark a new round of tensions between the US and Russia.

Mid-Air Collision 

The two aircraft collided after a series of brinksmanship endeavors got out of hand above the Black Sea. The MQ-9 drone was conducting routine surveillance over the Black Sea when two Russian Su-27 fighter jets dumped fuel on it and began flying ahead of it. This continued for thirty to forty minutes, according to US military forces. 

After this pattern of unusual flight behavior, the US says one of the Su-27s “struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters.” Air Force General James Hecker said the collision “nearly caused both aircraft to crash.” Experts say the Russian jet likely suffered serious damage, too, but was able to land.

Russian Claims

Moscow offers a different version of events. The Russian Defense Ministry claims the drone intruded into Russian airspace and that the fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the illegal flight pattern. Notably, the Defense Ministry describes the drone crash in passive language: “as a result of sharp maneuver, the US drone went into uncontrollable flight with a loss of altitude and collided with [the] water surface.”

Experts on Russian military practices have noted that Russia acts very precious about the airspace around Crimea following that region’s annexation in 2014. However, it’s routine for aircraft from many countries to operate in international airspace. Russian forces can’t declare any region, even “near” its borders, “off-limits.” 

Diplomatic Outcry

The US will be making its protests against the Russian interception of the drone known. “We are engaging directly with the Russians, again at senior levels, to convey our strong objections to this unsafe, unprofessional intercept, which caused the downing of the unmanned US aircraft,” Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, said in a statement on Wednesday.