MQ-9 Reaper incident: What was the US drone doing near Russia?

MQ-9 incident over Balck Sea: RIP the Reaper

An MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle crashed in the Black Sea. The Russian Ministry of Defence indicated that the US drone was flying with transponders turned off and violated airspace in the area of the Crimean Peninsula. The UAV was flying in the direction of the Russian border.

Russian fighter aircraft were scrambled to intercept the US UAV. However, the fighters did not come into contact with the drone, nor did they use weapons.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the UAV started manoeuvring, lost control and crashed into the sea. The Russian aircraft returned safely to their base, the ministry said.

Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder said that Russia did not retrieve the wreckage of the crashed drone. He did not clarify whether the United States was intended to try to recover the drone from the seafloor.

According to Ryder, the MQ-9 drone was on a reconnaissance mission over the Black Sea. The general did not specify whether the UAV was armed or not.

US accuses Russia of shooting down the US drone deliberately

General James Hecker, the Commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Africa, said that the MQ-9 drone was conducting a routine operation in international airspace. A Russian aircraft collided with the drone while escorting it thus causing it to crash, he said.

White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said that the incident was worth paying attention because of how unsafe and unprofessional it was.

The United States intends to continue flying over the Black Sea, Kirby noted. Such flights are carried out "for the sake of US national security", and Moscow will not be able to restrain Washington in this matter.

Russia calls the incident a US provocation

State Duma deputy Leonid Ivlev believes that the emergence of the MQ-9 UAV over the Black Sea was a provocation. American drones are always loitering in the neutral zone of the Black Sea or trying to enter Russian airspace in the Crimea region to collect intelligence information. The Americans subsequently transmit the collected data to the Ukrainian military for them to arrange drone strikes.

"This provocation has once again confirmed the participation of the United States in the armed conflict against Russia on the side of Ukraine. Their provocation has backfired on them," the MP said.

Anatoly Antonov, the Russian Ambassador to Washington, later commented on the incident after he was summoned to the State Department.

"American aircraft and ships have nothing to do near the borders of the Russian Federation," Russia's Ambassador to Washington Antonov said. "Can you imagine that an aircraft like that one, a drone, suddenly appears near New York or San Francisco? Can you imagine how the American media and the Pentagon will react to that?" Antonov wondered.

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Petr Ermilin
Editor Dmitry Sudakov