The United States military proved that the Kremlin was lying this week when a statement claimed that Russian pilots did not deliberately collide with a U.S. drone over the Black Sea.
According to Russia, the American MQ-9 Reaper drone was in airspace declare “off limits” due to the war in Ukraine. Two Russian jets that interacted with the aircraft were not responsible for its sudden downing in international waters on Tuesday.
On Thursday, the Pentagon released footage showing a Russian fighter jet dumping fuel on an American drone.
In the clip, large quantities of fuel can be seen pouring out the back of the aircraft. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters in a press conference that the video is the most “clear and convincing evidence” of the account put forward by the U.S. military about the incident, proving that the Russians were “flat-out lying” about what happened.
While the video proves some interaction between the aircraft, the Pentagon refrained from accusing Russian pilots of deliberately striking the unmanned aircraft.
While Russia’s actions could be easily interpreted as aggressive, Kirby reminded reporters that the United States is still not looking for conflict with Russia.
The video was shared by U.S. European Command on YouTube. The description reveals that the video had been purposely declassified and, while edited for length purposes, the events in the video are depicted in sequential order.
“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. (U.S. Air Force video),” the description reads.
The video was recorded from a camera fitted to the underside of the American drone. It shows both times a Russian jet passes the drone, spraying fuel, apparently in an attempt to strike the jet. It is during the second pass that the plane collides with the propeller mounted to the rear side of the drone, causing the drone to fall. Communications are also lost, causing pixelations and distortions in the clip.
According to U.S. European Command, operators lost contact with the drone for roughly one minute. When the video feed returned, one of the blades from the propeller appears to be damaged.
March 16, 2023 at 3:34 pm
Whoops! Them thar Rooshins LIED about, eh? Well, being an red-blooded American and former enlisted Marine and Army infantry officer, I’m feeling a little ‘chagrin’ here. Oh Lord. Think of the environment! Smh.
I’m sure the actual operators are also feeling somewhat disconcerted as well they should. And, I’m sure they are also ‘horrified’ by the environmental impact too. But, hey. No problem. We’ve got another one ready to go. Just don’t forget the real lessons learned here. An undefended MQ-9 is easy pickins.