U.S. releases video of a Russian jet approaching U.S. drone over the Black Sea : NPR
Alex Wong/Getty Images
The U.S. European Command has declassified footage showing the moment that a Russian aircraft approached a U.S. drone over the Black Sea.
The footage comes two days after the Pentagon accused a Russian aircraft of colliding with an uncrewed, MQ-9 surveillance drone that was operating in international airspace. The Kremlin has denied it deliberately downed the drone.
The 42-second video appears to show a Russian Su-27 aircraft approaching from the drone’s rear, pulling upward as it sprays fuel across the drone, causing the footage to temporarily pixelate. The camera recovers as the fighter jet pulls away.
The footage then shows a second jet approaching, releasing more fuel, before the video cuts out entirely. The video is edited between the two moments; the Pentagon said the full encounter lasted at least half an hour and that one of the aircrafts clipped a propeller on the drone, which forced it to go down.
The U.S. European Command described the encounter as “an unsafe and unprofessional intercept.”
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, U.S. Army General Mark Milley said he wasn’t sure whether the Russian jet had intentionally made contact with the U.S. drone.
“Was it intentional or not? Don’t know yet. We know the intercept was intentional. We know the aggressive behavior was intentional. We also know it was very unprofessional,” he said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.