On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Su-27 fighters did not intercept the MQ-9 Reaper, denying the U.S. military’s claims of Russian contact that caused the drone to crash.
A U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper, a surveillance and reconnaissance drone, violated temporary restrictions imposed on the use of airspace over the Black Sea, the Ministry said in a statement.
Two interceptors were sent to investigate the UAV was heading toward Russian airspace with transponders turned off. “The Russian fighters did not use weapons, did not come into contact with the UAV and returned safely to their base,” the Ministry said.
According to the Defense Ministry, “as a result of abrupt maneuvers around 9:30 a.m. Moscow time, the MQ-9 UAV went into uncontrolled flight, lost altitude and collided with the water surface.”
⚡️@mod_russia: ���� MQ-9 drone flew with its transponders off, violating the boundaries of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation, communicated to all users of international airspace, and published in accordance with international standards. pic.twitter.com/MTDFfhmHOZ
— Russian Embassy in USA ���� (@RusEmbUSA) March 14, 2023
The U.S. European Command (EUCOM) said that two Russian Su-27 aircraft intercepted the unmanned spy plane, sprayed it with fuel and hit the UAV’s propeller, causing it to crash into the sea.
The U.S. State Department summoned the Russian Ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, according to the agency’s spokesman, Ned Price.
The spokesman said the State Department expected the meeting with the Ambassador to occur Tuesday afternoon.