MQ-9 Reaper drone
Two Russian Su-27 fighter jets shot down an unmanned US MQ-9 Reaper drone over international waters not far from Ukraine in the Black Sea, according to a report. pentagon statement. It is yet another example of rising tensions between the US and Russia, the two most nuclear weapon states on the planet.
In the early morning hours, the two Su-27s followed the US Air Force drone over international waters, dumping fuel on the aircraft to interfere with its flight, according to the US statement. But the Russian fighters eventually became more aggressive and “hit the propeller” of the drone, causing it to crash into the sea.
US Air Force General James B. Hecker called the incident “unsafe and unprofessional”, needlessly risking escalation between the US and Russia.
“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and struck by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and the total loss of the MQ-9,” Hecker said. “American and allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves in a professional and safe manner.”
Since the war in Ukraine began in February 2022, President Joe Biden’s administration has worked to avoid the risk of a direct confrontation between the US and Russian militaries. But there are several Pentagon missions in and around the ongoing conflict, and the US government continues to transfer billions of dollars worth of weapons to kyiv as its proxy against Russian aggression.
For their part, the Kremlin and various Russian officials have increasingly threatened a nuclear exchange with the West if it continues its support for kyiv.