Russia gives state awards to fighter pilots involved in U.S. drone crash incident

Russian fighter pilots were among one. Confrontation with US drones The Ministry of Defense announced on Friday that he was awarded state honors as a result of his accident. The move appears to signal Moscow’s intention to take a more aggressive stance toward future U.S. surveillance flights.

“Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu presented state awards to the Su-27 pilots who prevented an American MQ-9 drone from violating (Russia’s) temporary airspace,” the ministry said.

The US military said it lost it. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper A pair of Russian fighter jets over the Black Sea on Tuesday dumped fuel on a surveillance drone and then one of them hit its propeller while it was flying in international airspace. Moscow has denied that its warplanes shot down the drone, alleging that it crashed during a high maneuver. It said its warplanes responded to a violation of a no-fly zone established by Russia during the fighting in the region near Crimea. Ukraine.

On Friday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu praised the pilots for preventing the drone from flying over an area Moscow has imposed a no-fly zone. The Ministry of Defense said that this ban is in accordance with international norms. Moscow reiterated its position that the pilots “did not use onboard weapons, made no contact with the UAV and returned safely to their home airport.”

Moscow’s announcement came a day after the US military issued a statement. 42 second video A Russian Su-27 fighter jet is shown following a US drone and dropping fuel as it passes by in a maneuver aimed at blinding the drone’s optical equipment to drive it out of the area.

On another approach, either the same jet or another Russian Su-27 that was shadowing the MQ-9 hit the drone’s propeller, damaging one of the blades, according to the US military, which said it then crashed the drone into the sea. The video excerpt does not show the collision, although it does show damage to the propeller.

Top defense and military leaders from the United States and Russia spoke about the drone disaster on Wednesday, underscoring the seriousness of the incident. It was the first meeting between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian General Staff Chief General Valery Gerasimov since October.

The White House also sought to avoid escalating tensions, calling out Russia for “reckless” action. US officials insisted that lines of communication with Moscow remain open.

John Kirby, the White House’s top national security spokesman told CBS News That the incident will not prevent missions and will not lead to future U.S. military escorts of drone flights.

“It was a deliberate, aggressive, over-aggressive move on the part of this pilot,” Kirby told CBS News on this week’s episode of “The Takeout.”

Kirby said If the Russians manage to recover. MQ-9 Reaper drone wreckage from the Black Sea, worth almost nothing.

“They won’t find anything of any intrinsic value, I can assure you of that,” Kirby said. “We’ve taken steps to minimize any intelligence-gathering capability. Anything left on the surface will likely be…wing fragments or bodies. Doubt it’s for anyone. is also important. In terms of intelligence… we’re not worried that they’re going to find anything of value. The water they’re in in the Black Sea is 4,000 to 5,000 feet deep. Anything of value, The drone hardware must have sunk. I think that’s pretty cool. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to recover anything like that.”

Officials: Russia at site of US drone wreckage in Black Sea


Russian officials also stressed the need to maintain lines of communication, but strongly condemned the U.S. action as an arrogant disregard for Moscow’s no-fly zone.

Pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov commented on the award announcement, writing, “This is a clear sign that Russia will shoot down American drones.” wants to tighten its policy.”

Moscow has repeatedly raised concerns about US intelligence flights near Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014 amid strong international condemnation. The Kremlin has accused the US and its allies of effectively engaging in the conflict by supplying arms and sharing intelligence with Kiev.

Some Russian officials alleged that US surveillance flights helped gather intelligence that allowed Ukraine to attack Russian targets.

AFP contributed to this report.

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