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The Russians deny that they destroyed the American military drone

Moscow’s ministry acknowledged that two of its fighter jets intercepted a US drone over the Black Sea, but said they did not open fire on it or make contact with it.

As a result of a violent maneuver, the MQ-9 drone began to free fall, lost altitude and hit the water surface

– announced the Russian Ministry of Defense, according to which the Russian warplanes did not collide with the drone and did not cause it to fall.

The fighters did not use their weapons, did not come into contact with the drone and returned to their base without hindrance

– says the ministry’s announcement.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the drone “flew with its transponders (radar transponders) turned off and violated the airspace zone established for temporary use during the invasion, which Moscow calls the +special operation in Ukraine+”, which is why its capture began.

According to the ministry, the users of the international airspace were notified of the zone created for Russian military operations in accordance with international standards. According to the Russian ministry the drone was discovered in the area of ​​the Crimean peninsula and was moving “towards the borders of the Russian Federation”.

Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. military said two Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Reaper surveillance drone over the Black Sea, and one of them struck the drone’s propeller, causing it to crash into the sea and be destroyed.

“Our MQ-9 was conducting a routine operation in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, which caused the drone to crash and perish,” James Hecker, the US Air Force general in charge of regional operations, said in a statement. He added that the irresponsible procedure almost caused the loss of both aircraft.

Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told reporters that the MQ-9 drone was conducting a reconnaissance mission over the Black Sea in international airspace. He added that this type of aircraft had already carried out surveillance missions over the Black Sea even before the war in Ukraine.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price announced shortly afterwards that by Tuesday afternoon local time, Russia’s ambassador to Washington had been summoned to the State Department to express to him the United States’ “strong protest” over the incident. He also informed that the US ambassador in Moscow had also expressed his protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Cover image source: Getty Images