Mutual allegations after drone crash
Washington blames Russia for US drone crash in Black Sea Moscow rejects the allegations and speaks of "provocation". At the same time, both sides emphasized that they did not want a confrontation.
The US information on the incident in the Black Sea differs significantly from the Russian account. Moscow emphasizes that the US drone was not shot at or otherwise attacked by the Russian jets. There was no contact, rather the drone fell into the sea after a sharp maneuver of its own.
In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder emphasized: “One of the Russian SU-27 jets touched the propeller of the MQ-9 drone. The US forces then had to crash the drone over international waters. Before the collision, the Russian Jets dumped fuel on the drone multiple times and flew in front of the drone in a reckless and unprofessional manner.”
Drone “full of sensitive reconnaissance technology”
According to the former Supreme Commander of NATO Forces in Europe, Wesley Clark, the US will try to recover the downed drone from the Black Sea before the Russian side possibly does: “We handle these drones with the utmost caution”, so Clark on the television channel CNN. “We have not yet made these drones available to the Ukrainians because they are full of sensitive reconnaissance technology. In this case, we may have been able to delete the stored data by remote control. I hope we did that,” Clark continued.
The US MQ-9 drones are unmanned aerial vehicles about 10 meters long and 20 meters wingspan. They are primarily used for reconnaissance, but can also be equipped with rockets.
Russian ambassador speaks of “provocation”
The US government has summoned Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov to the US State Department. In a written statement released by the Russian embassy in Washington, Antonov accused the US of collecting intelligence for Ukraine to use to attack Russian forces and Russian territory. Antonov called the drone incident a “provocation” and called on the US to stop operations near the Russian border. At the same time, the ambassador stressed that the Russian side did not seek a confrontation with the United States.
The spokesman for the US National Security Council, John Kirby, rejected Russia’s previous account of the drone crash and warned Moscow against an escalation. The United States has the right to conduct reconnaissance flights over international waters, Kirby stressed. According to Kirby, Washington is considering releasing footage of the US drone colliding with one of the Russian jets to support the American account of the incident.
Kirby: “Keep the Conversation Channels Open”
In the CNN interview, Kirby emphasized at the same time that Washington is still seeking dialogue with Moscow: “That’s why we want to keep the channels of communication open so that we can continue to exchange very directly and openly what our concerns are.”
So far, both sides have followed the line: sharp rhetoric, but no interest in an actual, let alone military, escalation.
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