A Russian fighter has collided with a US Reaper drone, forcing it down into the Black Sea, in what US forces called an an “unsafe and unprofessional” intercept.


A US European Command statement said the collision happened just after 7am on Tuesday morning, when two Russian Su-27 fighter jets flew up to the MQ-9 Reaper drone over international waters west of Crimea. The statement said the Russian pilots sought to disrupt the US aircraft before the collision.

“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,” the US statement said. “This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.”

One of the Russian fighters then struck drone’s propeller “causing US forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters”.

The European Command statement warned: “These aggressive actions by Russian aircrew are dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation.

“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9,” Gen James Hecker, the US Air Force commander for Europe and Africa, said. “In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”

It is believed the Russian Su-27 landed at an airbase in occupied Crimea.

The incident has highlighted the dangers of clash leading to escalation through mistake or miscalculation as Russia and Nato forces field increasing amount of military hardware around Ukraine – risks heightened by reckless behaviour.

The European Command statement said that the incident was part of a “pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with US and allied aircraft over international airspace, including over the Black Sea”.

In the White House on Tuesday, the national security council spokesman, John Kirby, said: “It is not the first time certainly in recent weeks there’s been intercepts.”

But Kirby added: “It is the first time that an intercept resulted in the ‘splashing’ of one of our drones.”

He said that Joe Biden had been briefed on the incident and that US diplomats would contact their Russian counterparts and “expressing our concerns over this unsafe and unprofessional intercept”.

He stressed the US drone had been operating over international waters, and that the collision would not deter US forces from patrolling the Black Sea.

“US will continue to operate in international airspace over international waters,” Kirby said. “The Black Sea belongs to no one.”


Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *