KYIV, Ukraine — The Pentagon has released footage of what it says is a Russian aircraft conducting an unsafe intercept of a US Air Force reconnaissance drone in international airspace over the Black Sea.
The 42-second video, released Thursday, shows the Russian Su-27 approaching the rear of the MQ-9 drone and starting to release fuel as it passes, the Pentagon said.
The US military said it dumped the MQ-9 Reaper in the sea Tuesday after Russian fighter jets poured fuel on the unmanned aerial vehicle, in an apparent attempt to blind its optical instruments and drive it from the area, and then hit it. propeller.
The excerpts released do not show events before or after the fuel dump confrontation.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley have spoken to their Russian counterparts about destroying the US drone after encounters with Russian fighter jets.
The telephone calls with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov on Wednesday were the first since October.
While intercept attempts are not uncommon, the incident amid the war in Ukraine has raised fears that it could bring the United States and Russia closer to direct conflict.
That the two countries' defense and military leaders spoke so quickly after the Black Sea meeting underscores the seriousness.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in reports of its call with Austin that Shoigu accused the US of provoking the incident by ignoring flight restrictions the Kremlin had imposed because of its military operations in Ukraine.
Russia also blames “the intensification of intelligence activities against the interests of the Russian Federation.”
Such US actions “are fraught with an escalation of the situation in the Black Sea region,” the Defense Ministry said, warning that Russia “will respond in kind to all provocations.”
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