The Pentagon released video footage of a Russian jet fighter harassing an American spy drone into the Black Sea on March 14 in what has been condemned by officials as an ‘unprofessional” act.
The 42-second video clip taken from the MQ-9 drone begins as the Russian SU-27 approaches from the rear of the unmanned craft. As the Russian jet closes in, it releases a stream of jet fuel over the top of the drone, seeming to scramble the circuits.
Approximately 10-seconds later, the Russian jet makes a second approach to the drone, again spraying it with jet fuel before passing by the craft even closer than before. Moments later, in footage not released by the Pentagon, the Russian jet collides with the American drone disrupting the video feed for 60-seconds. When the camera resumes filming, the damage inflicted to the propeller of the drone by the Russian jet can be seen, forcing the US to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters.
The US military has released footage of the mid-air encounter between a Russian fighter jet and a US drone that was forced down over the Black Sea. https://t.co/kTcWuYdJOQ pic.twitter.com/yAU1ZAy4bn
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 16, 2023
“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 a statement on Tuesday in reference to the loss. (RELATED: ‘Not A Small Thing’: Tucker Carlson Rips Lindsey Graham’s Suggestion To ‘Attack’ Russian Jets That Threaten US Assets)
The incident has only increased tensions between the US and Russia with the Kremlin stating March 15 the flight “proved” Washington was directly involved with the fighting in Ukraine, vowing to recover the wreckage from the Black Sea, ABC News reported. Meanwhile, the US stated it had no intention of stopping its surveillance and stated the incident showed Russia’s “aggressive and risky behavior,” the outlet stated.