US claims its Reaper drone crashed into sea after Russian jets collided with it

- Russia says US response is a 'provocation'

US claims its Reaper drone crashed into sea after Russian jets collided with it

Washington/Moscow: The US Defense Department has alleged that the MQ-9 Reaper drone, which was on an operation in the Black Sea, crashed into the sea after being hit by Russian fighter jets. The incident occurred on Tuesday morning, and the US sent a summons to the Russian ambassador seeking disclosure of the incident. Russia, however, responded to the US allegations and said that the US drone’s actions were provocative. In the last few hours, two incidents of fighter jets of NATO member nations scrambling Russian aircraft to return have been reported. Some analysts claim that this has further strained tensions between Russia and western countries and will increase the scope of conflict in Ukraine.

 Reaper droneOn Tuesday morning, the US MQ-9 Reaper drone was patrolling at a distance from the Romanian border. According to the US, this area falls into international airspace. Russia, however, claimed that the US drone was flying in a restricted location. Some Russian media have reported that the US drone was flying 60 kilometres from the Crimea port. However, no country has given concrete information about the drone’s exact location.

Two Russian Su-27 fighter jets tried intercepting the US drone while patrolling. However, the drone continued to patrol. The US has accused Russian planes of dropping fuel onto the drone and pushing the propeller. Nevertheless, Russia has denied the allegations. After the warning by Russian aircraft, the US drone made a reverse flight to move away, and in doing so, Russia said the drone fell into the sea.

US defence sources said the US does not have the capacity to pull out the drones from the deep waters where it collapsed. According to Russian media reports, the Russian Navy teams claimed to have unearthed several drone remains. However, no country has given any official statement about it. Therefore, what exactly happened to the US drone is still a mystery. Even if the drone will not return, the US has taken an aggressive stand against Russia. Anatoly Antonov, the Russian Ambassador to the US, has been summoned immediately. The US has demanded that the Russian government disclose the entire incident.

 Reaper drone

Simultaneously, White House spokesman John Kirby said the US does not need Russia’s permission to patrol the international border. Furthermore, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price also criticised Russia’s efforts, saying if Russia were trying to send a message to the US through such actions, it had failed.

Russian Ambassador Antonov delivered a stern reply to the United States. The Russian ambassador assertively warned that the US drone incident was a “provocation” and that the Russian aircraft did not commit any mistake. “The United States should stop making provocative flights near the Russian border; otherwise, they should remain prepared for the consequences,” Antonov warned. Also, Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that relations between Russia and the US had reached an all-time low after the US drone incident.

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