Paris (AFP/APP): A Russian fighter jet on Tuesday dumped fuel on an American drone over the Black Sea and then collided with it, causing the drone to crash, the US military said, slamming the maneuver as “reckless”.
US European Command said two Russian Su-27 fighters intercepted the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper over international waters and one clipped its propeller.
“Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” it said.
Moscow denied causing the crash of the drone, which the Pentagon said was on a routine ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) mission.
“As a result of a sharp maneuver… the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle entered an uncontrolled flight with the loss of altitude and collided with the surface of the water,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that the two Russian jets had no contact with the US aircraft and did not use their weapons.
The US State Department said it had summoned Russia’s ambassador to protest.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby later said, “obviously, we refute the Russians’ denial” and added that the United States was trying to prevent the fallen drone from getting into the wrong hands.
“Without getting into too much detail, what I can say is that we’ve taken steps to protect our equities with respect to that particular drone — that particular aircraft,” Kirby told CNN.
“We obviously don’t want to see anybody getting their hands on it beyond us.”

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