BREAKING: Russian jet collides with US drone over Black Sea

A Russian fighter jet collided with an American drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday, the US Army said, in an incident that could further increase the tension between Moscow and Washington. Two Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted “an unsafe and unprofessional intercept” with a US Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 aircraft that was operating within international airspace over the Black Sea.  

At approximately 7:03 AM (CET), one of the Russian Su-27 aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing US forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters, the US European Command said in a statement. 

The US military further said that 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”. “This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional,” the military added.  

US Air Force General James Hecker, who oversees the country’s Air Force in the region, said that America’s MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9. 

“In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash,” he said, adding that the US and Allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and “we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely”. 

This incident follows a pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with US and Allied aircraft over international airspace, including over the Black Sea, the command said. “These aggressive actions by Russian aircrew are dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation.” 

The command further said that the US Air Forces routinely fly aircraft throughout Europe over sovereign territory and throughout international airspace in coordination with the applicable host nation and international laws. “In order to bolster collective European defense and security, these missions support Allied, partner, and U.S. national objectives,” it added.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said US President Joe Biden was briefed about the incident. 

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