The State Department has requested a meeting with the Russian ambassador following an incident between the two countries early Tuesday morning. Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador, has been asked to meet following a Russian fighter jet colliding with and destroying an American Reaper drone over the Black Sea. US officials insisted the American surveillance drone was in international airspace when it was downed in an “unsafe and unprofessional intercept” by Russian fighter jets according to the Daily Mail. However, the location of the incident is not far from the frontlines of the Ukraine war.
According to officials at the pentagon, the Russian jets harassed the drone, first dumping fuel on it and flying in front of it, then clipping the propeller, forcing it into the Black Sea. The unmanned drone cost $32 million taxpayer dollars to purchase.
Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder commented about the circumstances in a press briefing ‘This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry issued a statement that contradicts the Pentagon. Russia denied colliding with the US drone. Instead, they said the drone went into ‘uncontrolled flight’ caused by ‘sharp maneuvering’.
White House spokesman Kirby said the State Department “will be speaking directly with their Russian counterparts and expressing our concerns over this unsafe and unprofessional intercept. If the message is that they want to deter or dissuade us from flying or operating in international airspace over the Black Sea, then that message will fail. We don’t need to have some sort of check-in with the Russians before we fly in international airspace. There’s no requirement to do that, nor do we do it,’ Kirby added.
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about the incident, mocking the Biden administration for its ignorance. He said, “The US Air Force issued a statement accusing the Russian aircraft of acting in a ‘reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner.’ Environmentally unsound. That’s what they’re worried about. Not the start of WWIII. Trump was right again.”
Putin has said his war in Ukraine has been a defensive move to push back against western hostilities attempting to expand into areas historically controlled by Russia,
“So for us, this is not a geopolitical task, but a task of the survival of Russian statehood, creating conditions for the future development of the country and our children,” Putin said recently.