An American Reaper drone crashed into the Black Sea Tuesday after it was hit by a Russian fighter jet, according to U.S. European Command.
A press release issued by EUCOM said the incident took place when two Russian Su-27 aircraft “conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept" with an Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance MQ-9 drone.
The incident took place in international airspace just after 7 a.m. Central European Time, the release said.
The release said one jet struck the propeller of the drone, “causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters.”
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) March 14, 2023
The release noted that was the last act in a drama that played out in the skies above the Black Sea.
“Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” the release said.
“This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional,” the release said.
A US 🇺🇸 MQ-9 Reaper Drone was hit by a Russian Fighter Jet over the Black Sea today, says the US Military
The Su-27 acted recklessly by dumping fuel on the Drone, then hitting its propellor, causing it to crash
This appears to be a purposeful attack by Russia on the US Military pic.twitter.com/zNtTQY5LlL
— Ukraine Battle Map (@ukraine_map) March 14, 2023
Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker, commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa said the drone “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,” he said.
“U.S. and Allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely,” Hecker said.
The release said the collision “follows a pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with U.S. and Allied aircraft” and warned that “[t]hese aggressive actions by Russian aircrew are dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation."
National Security Council communications coordinator John Kirby said national security adviser Jake Sullivan briefed President Joe Biden on the incident Tuesday morning, according to CNN.
What’s next @POTUS @SecDef @NATO? Will they be shooting down our jets or allied jets/drones? What will be the response to #RussianWarCrimes #MuscovyIsATerroristState Do nothing and I guarantee this will not be the end of russia doing this kind of stuff. Time to pay #Muscovy https://t.co/5195Adel5F
— Monya (@MonicaM444) March 14, 2023
“It is not uncommon for there to be intercepts by Russian aircraft of U.S. aircraft over the Black Sea,” Kirby said, according to The Hill.
“And there have been, even in just recent weeks, there have been other intercepts. But this one obviously is noteworthy because of how unsafe and unprofessional it was … in causing the downing of one of our aircraft,” he said.
It was not reported whether the Russian fighter sustained any damage.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.