Russian Fighter Jet Collides with US Drone Over International Airspace

An escalating air incident between Russia and the U.S. raises security concerns after a Russian fighter plane collided with a U.S. Reaper drone in international airspace and waters over the Black Sea.

On Tuesday, the Russian aircraft, a Su-27, damaged the MQ-9 Reaper drone’s propeller, bringing the unmanned aerial vehicle down in the Black Sea. The Su-27 then made landfall in Crimea.

The U.S. State Department responded swiftly with a summons for the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, to explain the intercept and express strong objections.

The U.S. European Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) also released an official statement, elaborating on the sequence of events leading up to the collision and calling out the recklessness and unprofessional behavior of the Russian military.

According to the statement, the Su-27 aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9 and caused U.S. forces to have to bring it down in international waters.

In addition, before the incident, the Su-27s released fuel on the MQ-9 drone and flew in front of it in a reckless manner. USAFE-AFAFRICA commander, Gen. James B. Hecker, commented on the incident: “This unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”

John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications on the National Security Council, noted that the Reaper posed no threat to anyone. He also revealed that there had been several other intercepts from Russian aircraft in the previous weeks.

The collision between the U.S. and Russian aircraft is an incident of grave concern, and the U.S. is firmly asking the Russian military to renounce any pattern of dangerous actions in international airspace in favor of safe, responsible, and professional behavior.