The moment a Russian fighter jet collided with a US drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday has been captured on video by the Pentagon. The declassified video, which lasts for roughly 40 seconds, shows the unmanned MQ-9 reconnaissance aircraft being approached closely by a Su-27 fighter jet, gasoline being dumped nearby, and a damaged propeller following the intercept.
According to the Pentagon, the US military reportedly altered the video for length but kept the events in chronological order. The US has previously claimed that the drone was damaged after two Su-27 aircraft spent at least 30 minutes attempting to interfere with it by fuelling it and flying in front of it.
Russian charges that their jets were careless during the event have been refuted by the US. The video was released with the following caption:
“Two Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept with a U.S. Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 aircraft operating within international airspace over the Black Sea on March 14, 2023. Russian Su-27s dumped fuel upon and struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters.”
It also came with the note:
“This declassified video has been edited for length, however, the events are depicted in sequential order.”
See the video below posted on Twitter:
U.S. military releases video showing a Russian Su-27 fighter jet colliding with an American MQ-9 Reaper drone above the Black Sea earlier this week. pic.twitter.com/4wrHauzObC
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) March 16, 2023
Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the US, described the event as a “provocation” on Wednesday. Accusing the US of supplying intelligence to Kyiv. The US had summoned the ambassador over the incident. He said:
“We are concerned about the unacceptable activity of the US military in the immediate vicinity of our borders.”
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The MQ-9 Reaper is a large unmanned aircraft, 11 meters long, with a wingspan of over 22 meters. The US Air Force says it primarily uses “an intelligence-collection asset.” The drone’s destruction has been discussed with their Russian counterparts by the defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Mark Milley.
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