Pentagon releases dramatic video showing collision between Russian plane and US drone over Black Sea near Ukraine

The US military released a dramatic video on Thursday morning which it said showed a Russian fighter jet intercepting and then colliding with the US MQ-9 “Reaper”. drone that crashed in the Black Sea Tuesday. The US has accused Russia of operating its warplane in a ‘dangerous and unprofessional’ manner during the encounter near Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, a senior Russian official said Moscow would try to recover the wreckage of the drone, U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that the unmanned aerial vehicle will was probably broken in the accident and whatever the debris. probably sank thousands of feet deep in the Black Sea.

“It’s American property,” Milley said Wednesday at a Pentagon press conference. “There’s probably not much to salvage, frankly.”

An official told CBS News that the Russians had reached the crash site and would likely succeed in recovering some debris, such as pieces of metal, but Milley said the United States had taken mitigating measures to avoid the loss of any sensitive information.

“We are convinced that everything that had value is no longer of value,” he told reporters.

The video released Thursday by the Pentagon (above), captured by an MQ-9 camera, first shows a fighter plane passing at close range before making another pass during which it would have struck the propeller of the drone. Camera view is briefly lost after the apparent collision, but returns to show what the Air Force said was propeller damage from the strike.

The Russian aircraft “spilled fuel onto the MQ-9’s propeller and struck it, causing US forces to shoot down the MQ-9 in international waters,” the Air Force said in a statement. press release accompanying the video.

The video released by the U.S. Army European Command has been “edited in length, however, the events are depicted in sequential order,” the statement said.

A still from video released March 16, 2023 by the US military shows what the Pentagon said was a Russian fighter jet approaching a US Air Force MQ-9 drone over the Black Sea just before colliding with the drone, forcing it to be brought down, March 14, 2023. The image was captured by a camera aboard the MQ-9, the Pentagon said.

American military document

Speaking to reporters this week, Air Force Brig. General Pat Ryder did not say whether the drone was armed, and he referred to the unmanned aircraft as MQ-9, but not by its other name, the Reaper. The United States uses Reapers for surveillance and strikes and has operated the aircraft from Europe to the Middle East and Africa.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said alongside Milley on Wednesday that he had spoken to his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu after the incident over the Black Sea, but the US chief Defense did not provide details of the conversation.

“The United States will continue to fly and operate where international law permits, and it is Russia’s responsibility to operate its military aircraft in a safe and professional manner,” Austin told reporters.

An MQ-9 Reaper drone flies overhead during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base November 17, 2015 in Indian Springs, Nevada.
An MQ-9 Reaper drone flies overhead during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base November 17, 2015 in Indian Springs, Nevada.

Isaac Brekken/Getty

The Russian Defense Ministry said Shoigu told Austin that the collision was the result of “increased (US) intelligence activities against the interests of the Russian Federation” and “disrespect of the flight zone restricted” declared by Moscow in connection with its ongoing war in Ukraine. . The southern coast of Ukraine lies on the Black Sea and Crimea, occupied by Russia since 2014 and claimed as its sovereign territoryprotrudes into the body of water.

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The Russian ministry said it would react “proportionately” to any further US “provocation” in the region, warning that “flights of US strategic unmanned aerial vehicles off the coast of Crimea are provocative in nature, which creates prerequisites for an escalation of the situation in the Black Sea area.”

“Russia is not interested in such a development of events, but it will continue to respond proportionately to all provocations,” the Defense Ministry said.

Eleanor Watson of CBS News contributed to this report.


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