Russia wants to recover the wreckage of a US drone that crashed into the Black Sea

Washington reported that the Reaper MQ-9 crashed into the sea after being hit by a Russian fighter jet. Moscow acknowledges interference with the device, but denies any connection and the appearance of an accident.

White House spokesman John Kirby previously told CNN that the United States “has taken steps” to recover their device.

Russia has blamed the US for the incident and the tensions it raised, calling on Washington to halt “hostile” drone flights.

Instead, Ukrainian officials accused Russian forces of deliberately downing the Reaper, signaling that Moscow was ready to escalate.

It was “a signal from Vladimir Putin that he is ready to expand the conflict zone and involve other parties in it,” Ukrainian Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Russia has indicated that it is trying to find the device and bring it to the surface for analysis, while the US plans to do the same.

“I don’t know whether we can achieve it or not, but we have to try. We will certainly take care of it and I believe that we will definitely succeed,” said the Secretary of the Russian Security Council. Television Security, Nikolai Patrushev.

The official also felt that the incident proved that the US was “participating directly (…) in the war”.

US drone: “It’s a signal from Putin to expand the conflict zone and involve other parties”

“Hostile” planes

Earlier, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the US, used defensive language and said his country considered the presence of US drones in the area a threat and urged the Americans to stop “their flights near Russian borders”.

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“We regard any act of using American weapons as openly hostile,” he insisted after being invited by the US State Department.

On Tuesday, General James Hecker, the commander of US air forces in Europe, assured him that “US and allied drones will continue to operate in international airspace”.

According to his version of the facts, the Reaper MQ-9 was carrying out “routine operations in international airspace” when it was intercepted by Su-27 fighter jets and then “shot down” by one of them, resulting in the loss of the drone.

The Russian military denied it was responsible for the plane’s downing, but admitted two of its fighters had intercepted it.

It is the first time since the Russian offensive on Ukraine began on February 24, 2022 that a NATO country has acknowledged the loss of self-propelled equipment in the highly flammable region.

The US military therefore condemned “aggressive actions by Russian personnel” and noted that this type of incident could lead to “spontaneous escalation”.

According to the Russian version of the facts, the American drone was detected in 2014 “in the area of ​​the Crimean Peninsula”, a Ukrainian territory annexed by Moscow.

Contacts in the Black Sea

The Russian defense said the plane advanced “in the direction” of Russia’s borders “with transponders turned off” and violated “the zone of the provisional regime for the use of airspace established to carry out special military operations” in Ukraine. Ministry.

It was intercepted by two Russian fighter jets without hitting it, and suddenly the drone “started an uncontrolled flight with loss of altitude and hit the surface of the water,” he said.

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The Reaper drone is a remotely piloted aircraft with a 20-meter wingspan equipped with on-board sensors for surveillance and weapons. Flying at a speed of 335 kmph, it will fly for more than 24 hours.

The skies over the Black Sea have been the scene of more regular interactions between drones and aircraft of NATO countries and the Russian armed forces, especially since the start of the war in Ukraine.

“With the current crisis, there is an increase in the number of espionage vectors towards Crimea with the Reaper, which we do not have. And depending on the situation, this could irritate the Russians”, underlines a French expert on condition of anonymity. .

Ukraine’s Western allies, which have provided arms to Kiev since the beginning of the conflict to help it defend itself, have not directly engaged in Ukrainian territory, fearing an escalation by Russian nuclear power.

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