Russian jet intercepts and collides with US drone over Black Sea after dumping ‘environmentally unsound’ fuel
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Nato has informed allies after a Russian jet intercepted and collided with the propeller of a US drone over the Black Sea. The US has condemned the incident involving Russia’s Su-27 fighter jet as ‘reckless’.
According to Reuters, Nato’s top military commander has informed allies about the incident. A Nato official said: "General (Christopher) Cavoli has briefed Nato allies on the incident today," the official told Reuters.
The US military MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drone - which has a total speed of 300mph and a wingspan of 65ft - was flying in international airspace when it was hit. US Air Force General James Hecker, said: "Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9."
Prior to the collision, the Russian plane "dumped fuel and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner," Mr Heckler added. The White House spokesman, John Kirby, has condemned the incident and says it won’t ‘deter’ the US’s presence in international airspace.
He said: "If the message is that they want to deter or dissuade us from flying and operating in international airspace, over the Black Sea, then that message will fail, because that is not going to happen," says John Kirby, National Security Council spokesman.
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has also criticised the collision, labelling the incident ‘another reckless act’. He said: “I want to tell Mr. Putin, Stop this behaviour before you are the reason for an unintended escalation.”
Russia’s defence ministry has denied Russian involvement in the incident. “The Russian fighters did not use their onboard weapons, did not come into contact with the UAV and returned safely to their home airfield,” the defence ministry said.