A Russian Su-27 fighter jet intercepted and struck the propeller of a US military MQ-9 “Reaper” surveillance drone on Tuesday, causing it to crash into the Black Sea in an incident condemned as “unsafe” by the US military.
Two Russian Su-27 jets carried out the intercept of the American spy drone, and one of them collided with it at 7:03am (0603 GMT). Several times before the collision, the Russian fighter jets dumped fuel on the MQ-9 and flew in front of it in unsafe manoeuvres, the US military said in a statement.
“Our MQ-9 aircraft 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,” US Air Force General James Hecker, who oversees the US Air Force in the region, said in a statement. “In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.” There was no immediate comment from Moscow.