US Spy Drone Fallen in Black Sea: Russia denied Clash and Considers it a “Provocation”. Pentagon calls Moscow

US Spy Drone Fallen in Black Sea: Russia denied Clash and Considers it a “Provocation”. Pentagon calls Moscow

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On the cover image a MQ-9 Reaper Drone of the U.S. Air Force

by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio

VERSIONE IN ITALIANO

The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday denied claims by the US military that a Russian interceptor came into contact with the American MQ-9 drone over the Black Sea, causing it to crash.

Moscow regards Tuesday’s incident in which an American drone crashed in the Black Sea as a provocation, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said after being summoned to the State Department in Washington.

This, in a nutshell, is what is reported by two latest articles published by Russia Today.

Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder on Tuesday declined to disclose whether the US MQ-9 Reaper drone that crashed over the Black Sea after the intercept with Russian aircraft was armed.

“I’m not going to get into the specific profile of this particular aircraft. As you know the MQ-9 does have the ability to be armed,” Ryder said during a press briefing.

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The Russian Navy Managed to Recover several part of Drone

Neither the US nor Russia gave any coordinates for the incident. The Americans argued the drone was “operating within international airspace” over the Black Sea. The Russians said the drone was inside the restricted airspace established for the special military operation, of which everyone was properly notified months ago. Unconfirmed reports in the Russian media put the drone’s location about 60 kilometers (37 miles) southwest of the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

The MQ-9 Reaper was developed from the original MQ-1 Predator. The US military described it as an “Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance” (ISR) platform. Though it certainly can be used for ISR work, the Reaper is primarily a “hunter-killer,” capable of carrying 1,700 kg (3,747 lbs) worth of Paveway laser-guided bombs or Hellfire missiles. Developed by California-based General Dynamics, the remotely-piloted aircraft has a wingspan of 20 meters and is powered by a 950-horsepower turboprop engine, capable of cruising speeds of 280-310 km/h. The US military operated around 300 of them as of 2021.

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The Pentagon insists that no part of the drone has been recovered by Russia, but would not provide any more details to US reporters. Moscow has not officially commented on the matter. According to open-source researchers on social media, however, the Russian navy managed to recover several parts after a search-and-rescue operation, as the US and its NATO observed from P-8A and G-550 surveillance planes.

The US and NATO have ramped up their surveillance of Russia in both the Baltic and the Black Sea after the conflict in Ukraine escalated in February 2022.

On Monday, a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber of the US Strategic Command deliberately flew towards St. Petersburg, turning around only after reaching the range required to launch a cruise missile.

Pentagon calls Moscow over drone incident

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reached out to his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu, on Wednesday, for the first time in months, to discuss the incident in which an American spy drone went down in the Black Sea waters off Crimea.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Shoigu told Austin that the incident was caused by the Americans violating the airspace restriction declared by Russia, with all the proper international notifications in place. Shoigu called US drone flights off the Russian coast “provocative in nature” and risked an escalation of tensions in the Black Sea.

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While Russia does not desire such a development, it will “continue to respond proportionately to all provocations,” Shoigu said. He added that the two nuclear powers “must act as responsibly as possible,” which includes keeping a military channel open to discuss any crisis.

Speaking at a Pentagon press briefing, Austin confirmed that he made the call, and said it was “important that great powers be models of transparency and communication.” However, he insisted the US would “continue to fly and to operate wherever international law allows.”

Russian Ambassador in Washington: “We Consider this incident a provocation”

Antonov met with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried, who protested the “unsafe and unprofessional intercept” of the drone that resulted in its loss.

“We consider this incident a provocation,”Antonov told reporters after the meeting. He said he told Donfried that US drones, planes and ships had no business being that close to Russian borders.

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“Could you imagine what the reaction of the US media or the Pentagon would be, if such a drone would appear near New York or San Francisco?” he asked.

Antonov described the talks with Donfried as “constructive” and said both sides shared their concerns. The US and Russia need to be “extremely cautious” how they act, given the current situation in Eastern Europe, he added. He also told Donfried that Moscow is seeking “pragmatic relations” and not conflict with the US.

The Statement of Russian Defense Ministry

The UAV was flying towards the Russian border without an active transponder, in clear violation of the restricted area established for the conduct of the special military operation, the ministry said. Two interceptors were dispatched to investigate. 

“As a result of sharp maneuvers around 9:30am Moscow time, the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle went into uncontrolled flight, lost altitude, and collided with the water surface. The Russian fighters did not use weapons, did not come into contact with the UAV, and returned safely to their home base,” the defense ministry said in a statement.

Washington accuses Moscow of downing drone

Moscow’s comment came after the US European Command (EUCOM) accused the Russian jets of “an unsafe and unprofessional intercept” of the drone.

The Americans claimed their spy drone was operating in international airspace when a pair of Su-27 jets appeared, sprayed it with fuel, and “struck the propeller” of the UAV, which caused it to crash into the sea. EUCOM waited almost 12 hours after the incident to comment on it.

The US has admitted to providing Ukraine with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information in the conflict against Russia, while insisting it is not a party to the hostilities.

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US and NATO spy aircraft frequently fly over the Black Sea and approach Crimea, sometimes just before Ukrainian forces launch attacks on the Russian peninsula.

Last week, a US strategic bomber flew a practice run for a missile attack on St. Petersburg, while staying in international, and NATO, airspace.

The Pentagon routinely uses the phrase “unsafe and unprofessional” to describe incidents in which Russian interceptors chase off US drones, spy planes or fighters that come too close to the border.

US Retired General: “Likely NATO Intelligence Activity, Imperative to Recover Reaper”

Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata (U.S. Army, Retired) has issued a preliminary statement on this breaking story, as previous reported by Veterans Today.

  • Reaper Drone is one of the world’s most sophisticated unmanned aerial surveillance capabilities.
  • It is imperative that we recover it, and not the Russians or other foreign actors.
  • This drone most likely provided intelligence to NATO, which NATO could provide to Ukraine; it was most likely transiting the area or surveilling Russian naval activity.

Read more about general Tata’s analysis on Veterans Today…

BREAKING: National Security Expert/Retired Army General Tata on Russian Jet Collision with U.S. Drone

MAIN SOURCES

GOSPA NEWS – UKRAINE WAR

RUSSIA TODAY – Russia comments on US drone crash in Black Sea

RUSSIA TODAY – Moscow regards the presence of American UAVs in the Black Sea as a provocation, said Anatoly Antonov

VETERANS TODAY – BREAKING: National Security Expert/Retired Army General Tata on Russian Jet Collision with U.S. Drone

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Fabio G.C. Carisio

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