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U.S. drone crashes into Black Sea after Russian intercept

WASHINGTON – A Russian Su-27 fighter jet intercepted and shot down a US military MQ-9 Reaper reconnaissance drone on Tuesday, causing it to crash into the Black Sea, the first such incident since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. a year ago.

NATO’s supreme commander in Europe, US Army General Christopher Cavoli, briefed NATO allies on the incident, which drew sharp condemnation from the White House and the Pentagon, which warned of the risk of escalation.

Two Russian Su-27 jets conducted what the US military described as a reckless pursuit of an American spy drone before crashing into one at 7:03 a.m. (0603 GMT).

Several times before the collision, Russian fighter jets refueled the MQ-9, possibly in an attempt to blind or damage it, and flew unsafe maneuvers in front of the drone, the US military said.

“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and shot down by a Russian aircraft, causing the MQ-9 to crash and become a total loss,” US Air Force Gen. James Hacker, who oversees the US Air Force. Strength in the region, the statement said.

“In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional action of the Russians almost caused the destruction of two planes.

There was no immediate comment from Moscow.

The US military said the incident followed dangerous behavior by Russian pilots operating near US and allied aircraft, including over the Black Sea. The Black Sea is located between Europe and Asia and borders Russia and Ukraine, among other countries.

The White House said the downing of the drone, however, was unique and would be reported directly to Moscow.

“The State Department will speak directly with its Russian counterparts and express our concern about this unsafe and unprofessional wiretapping,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. (Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idris Ali Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Rosalba O’Brien)

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idris Ali Editing by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman

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