(CNN) — The Pentagon spokesman, Gen. Patrick Ryder, said on Tuesday that Russian planes flew alongside a US Reaper drone for 30 to 40 minutes before colliding with it, eventually causing it to crash overhead. Black Sea.
Ryder added that the Russian aircraft collided with the American drone, which made it unable to fly and forced the United States to shoot it down in international waters.
The Pentagon spokesman noted that the United States has been conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in international waters in the Black Sea “for some time,” including before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
“The main point here is that while interceptions themselves are not uncommon, this type of behavior by these Russian pilots is uncommon, unfortunate and unsafe,” the spokesperson said.
Rader did not say if the MQ-9 drone was armed, but added that the Department of Defense is working to declassify the intercept photos.
In a related context, a spokesman for the US State Department said that the US State Department summoned the Russian ambassador to convey its “strong objections” to the downing of the plane.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the “high-level engagement” with Ambassador Anatoly Antonov is expected later Tuesday afternoon.
During the meeting, the spokesperson said, the ambassador will hear directly from senior officials about our strong objections to what was clearly an unsafe and unprofessional interception of a Russian aircraft.
In Moscow, US Ambassador Lynn Tracy conveyed “a strong message to the Russian Foreign Ministry” about the incident, Price said.
For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced, in a statement on Tuesday, that a Russian fighter “did not use airborne weapons and did not come into contact” with the American drone over the Black Sea.
“On March 14, 2023 in the morning, Russian airspace control systems detected an American MQ-9 drone flying over the Black Sea near Crimea in the direction of the state border with the Russian Federation,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The drone flew with its transmitters violating the limits of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation, was reported to all users of international airspace, and was deployed in accordance with international standards,” the ministry said.
The ministry stated that “combat planes of the Air Defense Forces on duty scrambled to identify the intruder. As a result of the rapid maneuver at around 9:30 am (Moscow time), the MQ-9 drone took off in an unguided flight, resulting in a loss of altitude.” And it hit the water.”
And she continued, “The Russian planes did not use weapons on board, did not come into contact with the drone, and returned safely to their original airport.”
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