Russian Ambassador Accuses U.S. Of ‘Act Of Provocation’ 

Russian Ambassador Accuses U.S. Of 'Act Of Provocation' 

A Russian fighter jet struck the propeller of a US surveillance drone over the Black Sea, causing American forces to bring down the unmanned aerial vehicle in international waters, the US military said.

The White House said the downing of the American drone was “unsafe and unprofessional”, but Moscow has denied involvement.

Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said: “We view this incident as a provocation.”

He was summoned by the US State Department to answer for the incident.

“What would they be reaction of the United States if you see such a Russian drone very close to, for example, San Francisco or New York?” Mr Antonov asked as he left the department building in Washington. 

“For me it’s clear, for you as well.”

It came after the Russian Defense Ministry suggested the US aircraft instead went into “uncontrolled flight” due to “sharp maneuvering”.

US Air Force General James Hecker said: “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.”

“In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.

“US and Allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely.”

Mr Antonov later went on to say: “There are some problems regarding international waters, for example, we can see that Crimea is a part of the Russian Federation. The United States does not recognize this status.

“Does it mean it’s necessary to provoke Russian navy of Russian Air Force on this issue?”

He added: “The unmanned vehicle, this drone, can carry 1,700 kilos of explosives. This drone can carry a few bombs.”

Mr Antonov said the State Department meeting was “constructive” and the issue of possible “consequences” for Moscow over the incident was not raised.

“As for us, we do not want any confrontation between the United States and Russia. We are in favour of building pragmatic relations for the benefit of the Russian and American peoples,” Mr Antonov said.

The US military said one of two Russian jets collided with a US drone over the Black Sea, causing the drone to crash at around 07:00 central European time.

The Russian fighter jets had been flying near the unmanned US drones for around 30 minutes before the crash.

The US European Command said in a statement that two Russian Su-27 fighter jets “conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept” of a US MQ-9 drone that was operating within international airspace over the Black Sea.

It said one of the Russian fighters “struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing US forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters”.

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