Listen to this article Russian Defense Minister Awards Pilots For Shooting Down U.S. Drone
Russian Defence Minister Honors Pilots for Intercepting U.S. Drone
On Friday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu awarded two Su-27 fighter pilots for intercepting a U.S. drone near Russia’s military campaign airspace in Ukraine. The ceremony took place after the drone crashed into the Black Sea on Tuesday following an encounter with Russian jets. This marks the first known direct military encounter between Russia and the United States since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago.
Russian Defense Ministry’s Version of Events
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Su-27 fighter planes intercepted the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle around 9:30 a.m. (Moscow time) and managed to bring it down without making physical contact. The ministry repeated Russia’s version of events, which disputes the U.S. military’s claims. It stated that the drone had been flying with its transponders turned off and violating airspace restrictions that Russia had made public in connection with its special military operation in Ukraine. As a result of sharp maneuvering, the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle went into uncontrolled flight, lost altitude, and collided with the water surface, the ministry added.
U.S. Military’s Version of Events
However, the U.S. military has a different account of the incident. It claims that the Russian fighter planes approached its MQ-9 Reaper drone during a reconnaissance mission over the Black Sea in international airspace. According to the U.S. military, the fighters harassed the drone and sprayed fuel on it in an encounter that lasted 30-40 minutes. One of the fighter planes then clipped the drone’s propeller, causing it to crash into the sea.
Pentagon’s Release of Video Footage
Furthermore on Thursday, the Pentagon released a 40-second edited video showing a Russian fighter jet coming close to a U.S. military drone in the air, dumping fuel near it, and a damaged propeller in the aftermath. The top U.S. general stated that the incident demonstrated Moscow’s increasingly aggressive behavior.