Russia is considering the United States drone debacle a “provocation.” The incident, which took place on Tuesday, in which an American drone crashed in the Black Sea, is causing a major uproar in the Russian government.
The U.S. and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) have ramped up their surveillance of Russia in both the Baltic and the Black Sea after the conflict in Ukraine escalated in February 2022. Washington has repeatedly confirmed providing Kyiv with advice, intelligence, and information needed to target the Russian military, as well as weapons, equipment, and money – all while insisting the US is not a party to the hostilities. On Monday, a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber of the US Strategic Command deliberately flew towards St. Petersburg, turning around only after reaching the range required to launch a cruise missile. -RT
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said this was a “provocation” after being summoned to the State Department in Washington. “We consider this incident a provocation,” Antonov told reporters after the meeting. He said he told Donfried that U.S. drones, planes, and ships had no business being that close to Russian borders. “Could you imagine what the reaction of the U.S. media or the Pentagon would be if such a drone would appear near New York or San Francisco?” he asked, according to a report by RT.
Antonov described the talks with Donfried as “constructive” and said both sides shared their concerns. The U.S. and Russia need to be “extremely cautious” how they act, given the current situation in Eastern Europe, he added. He also told Donfried that Moscow is seeking “pragmatic relations” and not conflict with the U.S.. –RT.
According to the U.S. military, two Russian Su-27 interceptors flew dangerously close to the MQ-9 Reaper on Tuesday morning, spilling fuel on the drone and at one point damaging its propeller, causing the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to crash. The drone, they said, was on a peaceful surveillance mission in international waters. In response, the Russian Defense Ministry said the UAV stalled after executing drastic maneuvers, and that the interceptors “did not come into contact with the UAV.”
Antonov also made sure to point out that the drone was of a type that can carry multiple missiles and bombs. The MQ-9 was developed as a “hunter-killer” variant of the MQ-1 Predator.