US releases video of Russian jet dumping fuel on its drone
The 42-second video, released Thursday, shows a Russian Su-27 approaching the back of the MQ-9 drone and beginning to release fuel as it passes, the Pentagon said.The Pentagon has released footage of what it says is a Russian aircraft conducting an unsafe intercept of a U.S. Air Force surveillance drone in international airspace over the Black Sea. The 42-second video, released Thursday, shows a Russian Su-27 approaching the back of the MQ-9 drone and beginning to release fuel as it passes, the Pentagon said.The U.S. military said it ditched the MQ-9 Reaper in the sea on Tuesday after the Russian fighter jet poured fuel on the unmanned aerial vehicle, in an apparent attempt to blind its optical instruments and drive it out of the area, and then struck its propeller.
The released excerpt does not show events before or after the apparent fuel-dumping confrontation. Russia said its warplanes didn’t strike the drone and claimed the unmanned aerial vehicle went down after making a sharp maneuver over the sea. U.S. officials have expressed confidence that nothing of military value would remain from the drone even if Russia managed to retrieve the wreckage.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley have spoken to their Russian counterparts about the destruction of the U.S. drone following the encounter with Russian fighter jets. The Russian Defense Ministry said in its report of the call with Austin that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accused the U.S. of provoking the incident by ignoring flight restrictions the Kremlin had imposed because of its military operations in Ukraine.
Russia also blamed “the intensification of intelligence activities against the interests of the Russian Federation.” Such U.S. actions “are fraught with escalation of the situation in the Black Sea area,” the Defense Ministry said, warning that Russia “will respond in kind to all provocations.”