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US ‘took steps to protect information’ on crashed drone, as Russia likely trying to recover it

According to the US Air Force, video has been released showing a Russian plane intercepting an American drone and dropping fuel on it.

It stated that two Russian Su-27 aircraft flew very close to the MQ-9 Reaper, before one struck its propeller. Remote operators had to force it to crash into the ocean.

The increasing danger of direct confrontation between superpowers has been demonstrated by Tuesday’s incident. Fighting continues in the Ukraine.

Brigadier Pat Ryder, who was defending the US’s decision to release the footage, stated that they believed it important to demonstrate the “reckless and dangerous” behavior of the Russians.


He stated that the US had taken steps to secure information aboard the aircraft and that there are indications that Russia may be trying to recover the debris.

He said, “It’s very unlikely that they will be able to recover any useful information.”

Ryder stated that the US is not seeking conflict with Russia and will continue to support Ukraine.

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Pentagon: “No conflict with Russia”

Sean Bell, a retired air vice-marshal, stated that the manoeuvre was likely an attempt to “wash fuel into the drone’s engine and thus take it out”.

Sky News’ he said that he pulled the aircraft up but didn’t have the aerodynamics as he wasn’t flying fast enough… The plane got very close to the drone’s body and nearly certainly clipped the propeller.”

Bell called the pilot “incompetent”, but said that the collision was most likely an accident, as it also placed the Russian plane in danger.

The MQ-9 Reaper, which has a 20-metre (66ft), wingspan and costs $32m (PS26m), is used primarily for surveillance, but can also be armed.

Image: Remote piloting of the MQ-9. File pic
Image: Su-27 fighter jets. File pic

American officials accused Russian pilots flying in a “reckless,” unsound, and unprofessional manner.

Moscow denied that the jets behaved in a dangerous manner and claimed they didn’t come in contact with the drone. It also claimed the drone crashed because of “sharp maneuvering”.

It stated that the Reaper was heading towards Russia with its transponders, wireless communication devices, turned off.

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Drone shot down by an ‘incompetent Pilot’

Sergei Shoigu, Russian defense minister, accused the US for not following flight restrictions imposed on Russia by the Ukraine War.

America insists that the drone was within international airspace and out of conflict zones.

The graveness of the incident prompted top commanders and defence secretaries to call each other for the first time since October.

Russia stated that it will attempt to recover the remains from the drone but no parts have been found so far, a US official said to Reuters.

Image Interception occurred over the Black Sea

Washington stated that the plane crashed in water approximately 1,200-1,500m deep. He also said that security measures were taken to prevent sensitive information being gathered.

According to US officials, there are no American ships in this region. Therefore, its own recovery efforts are unlikely.

One day later, UK fighter jets and German fighter planes attempted to intercept a Russian helicopter that failed to communicate with Estonian air traffic controllers.

It was described by the Ministry of Defence as a “routine NATO mission”.


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