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Ukraine news: Russia downplays jet-drone encounter

KIEV, Ukraine –

Russian authorities have announced that they will try to recover the wreckage of an American drone that American forces shot down in the Black Sea after a collision with Russian fighter jets.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev announced on Wednesday that Russia intends to search for the wreckage of the drone.

“I don’t know if we can restore them or not, but we will certainly have to do it, and we will deal with it,” said Patrushev. “I certainly hope for success.”

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the drone was flying in international airspace and over international waters when it encountered the Russian fighter jet on Tuesday.

He emphasized that the presence of a drone over the Black Sea is not a rare phenomenon. Kirby said the MQ-9 Reaper drone has not yet been found, and it’s unclear if it will.

Patrushev argued that the drone incident highlights US involvement in military operations in Ukraine. The head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, Sergey Naryshkin, also noted that Russia has the ability to recover the wreckage of the drone.

THIS IS AN ADVISORY UPDATE. An earlier AP story follows below.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia is not ruling out “constructive dialogue” with the United States, even though relations between Moscow and Washington are in a “dire state,” a Kremlin spokesman said, a day after the U.S. reported a Russian fighter jet. Over the Black Sea, the plane hit the propeller of the American drone.

US officials have accused Russia of trying to intercept the drone that US forces shot down. Asked on Wednesday whether the incident could inflame tensions with Washington, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeated the Russian Defense Ministry’s statement that the Russian planes did not use their weapons and did not hit the American drone.

Peskov noted that US-Russia relations are at their lowest point, but added that “Russia has never rejected constructive dialogue and is not rejecting it now.”

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the drone was flying in international airspace and over international waters when it encountered the Russian fighter jet on Tuesday. He emphasized that the presence of a drone over the Black Sea is not a rare phenomenon.

“It’s also not rare that the Russians try to eavesdrop on them,” Kirby said, adding that such a meeting “really increases the risk of miscalculations, misunderstandings.”

The MQ-9 Reaper drone has not yet been recovered, and it’s unclear if it will, he said.

“The last thing we want, certainly the last thing anyone should want, is for this war in Ukraine to escalate and become between the United States and Russia, to actually expand beyond that,” he said. Kirby. Wednesday on CNN.

At the Pentagon, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the interception of the Russian plane was “part of a pattern of aggressive, risky and unsafe actions by Russian pilots in international airspace.” He said that Russia should operate its planes safely.

“Make no mistake, the United States will continue to fly and operate where international law allows,” Austin said in opening remarks ahead of a virtual meeting of US-led efforts to coordinate Western military support for Ukraine.

Although collisions between Russian and NATO planes are not unusual. prior to the invasion of Ukraine, NATO plans included intercepting an average of 400 Russian aircraft per year, the war has increased the significance and potential dangers of such incidents.

Alexey Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, tweeted Wednesday that the drone incident was “a signal from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin that he is ready to expand the conflict zone to involve other parties.”

Separately, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said British and German air force fighter jets collided with a Russian jet flying near Estonian airspace on Tuesday. Britain and Germany are conducting joint air policing missions in Estonia as part of strengthening NATO’s eastern flank.

Typhoon jets responded after a Russian air-to-air refueling plane failed to make contact with Estonian air traffic control, the Ministry of Defense said. The Russian plane did not enter the airspace of NATO member Estonia.

On the ground in Ukraine, the battlefield continues. At least three civilians were killed and 23 others wounded in the country during the previous 24 hours as a result of Russian strikes, the Ukrainian presidential office said on Wednesday morning.

In eastern Ukraine’s partially occupied Donetsk province, where the heaviest fighting is concentrated, Governor Pavlo Kirilenko said a total of 14 towns and villages had been shelled. That included Kramatorsk, a city that is home to some of Ukraine’s military forces.

In military Bakhmut, where Russian forces have been on the offensive for several months to capture the city, Ukrainian forces have successfully fought for the northern parts of the city, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said.

“There are certain and significant successes by the armed forces of Ukraine, which managed to achieve something in the north of the city,” Maliar told Ukrainian television. “In Bakhmut (the epicenter of fighting in the Donetsk region), the Russian occupiers are trying to surround and capture the city.

In the northeastern Kharkiv region, one person was killed and another was injured in Vovchansk, a city on the border with Russia, which is regularly shelled. Governor Oleh Sinyehubov said Russian forces also struck civilian areas in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

“There are no military or infrastructural facilities near the site of the attack,” said Mayor Ihor Terekhov. “Only residential buildings and urban infrastructure”.

Speaking on Ukrainian television, Terekhov said that the boarding school, where only the employees were, was damaged, as well as an apartment building. No casualties were immediately reported.

In the south, Russian forces shelled the city of Kherson seven times in the past 24 hours, hitting infrastructure and residential buildings, injuring four people. In Dnipropetrovsk province, Russian forces shelled Nikopol and Marhanets, towns across the river from the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.


Superville reported from Washington.

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