US resumes drone flights in Black Sea but keeps distance — RT World News

The US military sent another spy drone over the Black Sea on Friday, keeping away from the restricted airspace in which an MQ-9 drone crashed earlier this week, after being intercepted by Russian planes.

Flight Tracking Sites show a UAV with the call sign Forte10, identified as an RQ-4 Global Hawk, flying over Romanian airspace before flying south and east. The drone flew over the eastern part of the Black Sea, but never came within 100 kilometers of Crimea.

The Black Sea part of the mission only lasted two hours, instead of the usual twelve, noted a pro-Ukrainian observer on Twitter, call he “Certainly the strangest route I have ever seen the RQ-4 take.”

Unnamed US officials later confirmed the mission to Reuters, saying it was the first such flight since Tuesday’s incident. However, the Pentagon previously said another drone had been dispatched to monitor the possible rescue operation by the Russian Navy.

On Tuesday morning, two Russian planes intercepted a US MQ-9 Reaper that was inside restricted airspace without a transponder, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Moscow said the drone lost lift due to erratic maneuvers and fell into the water. The incident happened about 60 kilometers southwest of Sevastopol.

The US Army European Command accused the Russian pilots of “dangerous and unprofessional” fly, eventually posting a video showing jets repeatedly dousing the drone with fuel. According to the United States, the drone crashed after a Russian plane hit its propeller. The Russian military said no aircraft made contact with the UAV.

After the incident, senior Pentagon military and civilian leaders contacted their Russian counterparts for the first time in months, while the State Department summoned Moscow’s envoy to Washington.

US 'closely scrutinizing' drone operations - CNN

Ambassador Anatoly Antonov later said he conveyed to his hosts the position that US drones had no business flying so close to Russia. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the two pilots will receive an award for their actions.

The U.S. military said Thursday it was “weigh the costs and benefits” new drone operations and “look closely” on their routes to reduce the risk of further incidents.

Washington has admitted to providing Ukraine with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information in the conflict against Russia, while insisting it was not part of the hostilities. US and NATO spy planes regularly fly over the Black Sea and approach Crimea, sometimes just before Ukrainian forces launch attacks on the Russian peninsula.

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