US drone ‘downed by Russian fighter jets’ who ‘purposely crashed into it’
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A pair of Russian fighter jets dumped fuel on a US drone before one of them crashed into the unmanned aircraft, causing it to go down over the Black Sea, it has been reported.
Security journalist Mark Satter tweeted earlier today (March 14) saying that the unmanned U.S. MQ-9 drone was targeted by two Russian Su-27 aircraft.
He said: "JUST IN: Two Russian Su-27 aircraft dumped fuel on and flew in front of an unmanned U.S. MQ-9 drone above the Black Sea today.
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"One of the Russian jets struck the drone, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9, per U.S. European Command."
The U.S. European Command announced that the move was “unsafe and unprofessional.
The Russian planes flew in “a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner” in front of the MQ-9, according to a release.
“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,” U.S. Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker, commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, said in the release.
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“In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”
At 7:30 a.m. CET, one of the Russian planes hit the MQ-9’s propeller, according to EUCOM.
USNI reported that U.S. forces then opted to bring the unmanned aerial vehicle down in international waters.
EUCOM said Russian pilots had been acting aggresively towards US crafts of late.
“These aggressive actions by Russian aircrew are dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation,” reads the release.
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