Tensions rise between the United States and Russia. On March 14, a Russian fighter jet took down a U.S. drone over the Black Sea. Both sides blame each other for the incident.
The U.S. Department of Defense released a partial video of the event. In the footage, a Russian fighter jet sweeps low over a U.S. MQ-9 surveillance drone. The jet releases a plume of fuel, perhaps trying to blind the drone’s cameras. It does this twice. Then the video cuts out.
But the real conflict stems from the moments after the video. Russia’s jet or another Russian craft struck one of the drone’s propellers. Unable to fly, the drone’s remote pilot abandoned the MQ-9 in the sea.
The United States and Russia disagree on exactly what happened in those unseen moments.
Russian officials claim their jets did not strike the drone. But they don’t deny attempting to intercept it. They say the drone was breaking flight restrictions. Russia imposed these restrictions to prevent interference with war operations in Ukraine. Russian officials also question the drone’s reason for flying so close to Russian borders. Some see the drone’s presence as confirmation of direct U.S. involvement in the Ukraine war.
“What do they do thousands of miles away from the United States?” says Russian ambassador Anatoly Antonov. “The answer is obvious—they gather intelligence which is later used by the Kyiv regime to attack our armed forces and territory.”
But according to U.S. officials, the drone was flying in international airspace. They see the drone takedown as evidence of Russian aggression. They don’t know whether Russia intended to crash the drone, but they know Russia tried to intercept it.
This isn’t the first time Russian planes have interfered with U.S. aircraft. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says this incident is part of a bigger pattern. But the United States doesn’t plan to give in to Russian pressure.
“The United States will continue to fly and to operate wherever international law allows,” says Austin.
Both nations made bold claims against each other. Meanwhile, officials on both sides work to cool the tensions. For the first time in five months, defense secretaries in the United States and Russia spoke together.
“The last thing that anybody should want is for this war in Ukraine to escalate to become something between the United States and Russia,” says U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.
“Russia has never rejected a constructive dialogue, and it’s not rejecting it now,” says Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
While the United States and Russia try to maintain peace, the violence in Ukraine rages on. The United States works hard to support Ukraine without starting a fight with Russia. But despite these efforts, relations have reached a low point. We can pray that U.S. officials would find ways to resist injustice without escalating the conflict.
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy. — Proverbs 12:20
(The Pentagon released a video of a Russian jet pouring fuel on a U.S. drone. US Department of Defense via AP)
Comment number one
interesting it's hard to tell, if it did drift in Russia's airspace and the pilot didn't notice then they would have the right to shoot it down but if the jets drifted out or the drone was just outside, and the jet pilots did not notice than they should not have shot it down.
@All/ This is Bella