KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The Pentagon has released footage of what it says is a Russian jet carrying out a dangerous interception of a U.S. Air Force surveillance drone in international airspace over the Black Sea.
A 42-second video released Thursday shows a Russian Su-27 approaching the rear of an MQ-9 drone and beginning to dump fuel as it passes, the Pentagon said.
The US military said it dropped an MQ-9 Reaper into the sea on Tuesday after a Russian fighter jet doused the drone with fuel in an apparent attempt to blind its optics and drive it out of range, then hit its propeller.
The published excerpt does not show events before or after the apparent confrontation with the fuel.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley talked with their Russian colleagues about the destruction of an American drone after a collision with Russian fighters.
Conversations with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shaigu and the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces General Valery Gerasimov on Wednesday became the first since October.
While interception attempts are not uncommon, the incident amid the war in Ukraine has raised concerns that it could bring the US and Russia closer to direct conflict.
That the top military and military leaders of the two countries spoke so soon after the clash over the Black Sea underscored its seriousness.
The Russian Defense Ministry, in a report on the conversation with Austin, said that Shaigu accused the United States of provoking the incident by ignoring flight restrictions imposed by the Kremlin due to military operations in Ukraine.
Russia also accused of “intensification of intelligence activities against the interests of the Russian Federation.”
Such actions by the USA “escalate the situation in the Black Sea,” the Ministry of Defense said, warning that Russia “will respond to all provocations.” ___
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