US nonetheless can’t say if Russia meant to deliver down drone over Black Sea


WASHINGTON — A day after a Russian jet despatched an American military drone into the Black Sea following a mid-air collision, the best US primary acknowledged Wednesday he didn’t know whether or not or not the have an effect on was intentional.

While Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reiterated the preliminary US declare that two Su-27 pilots’ “aggressive” conduct whereas intercepting the MQ-9 Reaper led to its downing, he added that it “remains to be seen” whether or not or not one in all them meant to strike the drone’s propeller.

“We know that the intercept was intentional. We know that the aggressive behavior was intentional — we also know was very unprofessional and very unsafe,” Milley acknowledged.

“The actual contact of the fixed-wing Russian fighter with our UAV [drone] – the physical contact with those two – [we’re] not sure yet.”

Milley’s comment bought right here after Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov claimed the Su-27s “did not come into contact with” the drone in a Telegram put up late Tuesday, together with that Moscow scrambled the jets “to identify the intruder [and] did not use onboard weapons.”

Reaper remotely piloted aircraft
A Russian jet despatched an American military drone into the Black Sea following a mid-air collision Tuesday.
Getty Images

Still, Milley acknowledged the US has “video evidence” of the Russian jets’ earlier “unsafe and unprofessional” actions in the middle of the encounter, along with their unusual tactic of dumping fuel repeatedly on the drone in an apparent try to blind or hurt the aircraft.

“I can tell you with certainty that we have absolute evidence of the contact, the intercepts, etc. and it’s very aggressive,” he acknowledged.

“You’ve heard about the dumping of the fuel and everything else — we have video evidence of all that, so there’s no question that that part of it [was] intentional.”

Asked whether or not or not the incident was an act of wrestle, Milley replied: “I’m not gonna go there. Incidents happen.”

“Clearly, we do not seek armed conflict with Russia and I believe that at this point, we should investigate this incident and move on from there, but we will continue to exercise our rights in international airspace,” he added.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin talked about the incident with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday afternoon of their first phone title since October.

Austin declined to aspect what the boys talked about, nonetheless acknowledged he requested the choice on account of “we take any potential for escalation very seriously.”

It was solely the third publicly reported title between the safety officers since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

“I believe it’s important to keep the lines of communication open,” he acknowledged. “I think it’s really key that we’re able to pick up the phone and engage each other and I think that that will help to prevent miscalculation going forward.”

Mark Milley
Gen. Mark Milley reiterated the preliminary US declare that two Su-27 pilots led to the MQ-9 Reaper’s downing.
AFP by Getty Images

Milley moreover referred to as his counterpart, Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov, on Wednesday night time, nonetheless no further particulars had been launched.

However, the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged Austin and Shoigu’s title included “an exchange of views on the causes and consequences” of the drone’s crash into the Black Sea — shifting the blame to the US for flying shut to Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014 nonetheless which the US nonetheless acknowledges as Kyiv’s territory.

“Sergei Shoigu pointed out that the incident was caused by the US actions of non-compliance with the flight restriction zone declared by the Russian Federation established in connection with the [war], as well as increased reconnaissance activities against the interests of the Russian Federation,” the ministry acknowledged in a press launch.

The US doesn’t acknowledge Russia’s self-declared restriction zone, and the Pentagon insists that the incident occurred in “international airspace.”

Shoigu moreover knowledgeable Austin that Russia believes US drone flights “off the coast of Crimea are provocative in nature,” which the ministry warned “creates preconditions for the escalation of the situation in the Black Sea area.”

“The Russian Federation is not interested in such development, but it will continue to respond to all provocations in a proportionate manner,” the ministry acknowledged.

“At the equivalent time, crucial nuclear powers ought to act as responsibly as potential, along with sustaining military channels of communication to debate any catastrophe circumstances.

Su-27 fighter jets fly above a military base in the Zhytomyr region, Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder on Tuesday admitted the drone was conducting a surveillance mission on the time.

The assertion echoed Antonov’s Tuesday put up, by which he acknowledged he “categorically rejected all the insinuations of the US side” all through a State Department meeting after the collision.

“The unacceptable actions of the United States military in the close proximity to our borders are cause for concern,” he acknowledged.

“We are well aware of the missions such reconnaissance and strike drones are used for.”

While Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder on Tuesday admitted the drone was conducting a surveillance mission on the time, he acknowledged such flyovers have occurred repeatedly since sooner than the Ukraine wrestle began.

Though US officers haven’t acknowledged whether or not or not the drone’s surveillance was related to the Ukraine wrestle, Antonov on Tuesday claimed it was transferring “provocatively” in the direction of Crimea.

“What do [the drones] do thousands of miles away from the United States?” he acknowledged throughout the Telegram put up.

“The answer is obvious — they gather intelligence which is later used by the [Kyiv] regime to attack our armed forces and territory.”

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