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US releases video of Russian jet dumping fuel on its drone

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Pentagon on Thursday launched footage of what it mentioned was a Russian plane pouring gasoline on a U.S. Air Force surveillance drone and clipping the drone’s propeller in worldwide airspace over the Black Sea.

The 42-second video exhibits a Russian Su-27 approaching the again of the MQ-9 drone and starting to launch gasoline because it passes, the Pentagon mentioned. Dumping the gasoline seemed to be aimed toward blinding its optical devices and driving it out of the world.

On a second strategy, both the identical jet or one other Russian fighter that had been shadowing the MQ-9 struck the drone’s propeller, damaging one blade, based on the U.S. navy.

The U.S. navy mentioned it ditched the MQ-9 Reaper within the sea after what it described because the Russian fighter making an unsafe intercept of the unmanned aerial automobile.

The video excerpt launched by the Pentagon doesn’t present occasions earlier than or after the obvious fuel-dumping confrontation.

Russia mentioned its warplanes didn’t strike the drone and claimed the unmanned aerial automobile went down after making a pointy maneuver over the ocean.

Requested Thursday if Russia would attempt to get well the drone particles, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov advised reporters the choice was as much as the navy. “In the event that they contemplate it crucial to take action within the Black Sea for the advantage of our pursuits and our safety, they’ll do it,” he mentioned.

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Safety Council, mentioned Wednesday that Moscow would attempt to get well the drone fragments.

U.S. officers have expressed confidence that nothing of navy worth would stay from the drone even when Russia managed to retrieve the wreckage.

Russia and NATO member nations routinely intercept one another’s warplanes, however the drone incident marked the primary time because the Chilly Battle {that a} U.S. plane went down throughout such a confrontation, elevating issues it may carry the US and Russia nearer to a direct battle.

Moscow has repeatedly voiced concern about U.S. intelligence flights close to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014 and illegally annexed.

The top U.S. and Russian defense and military leaders spoke Wednesday concerning the destruction of the drone, underscoring the occasion’s seriousness.

The calls between U.S. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs of Workers Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, Russian Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russian Basic Workers, have been the primary since October.

The Russian Protection Ministry mentioned in its report of the decision with Austin that Shoigu accused the U.S. of scary the incident by ignoring flight restrictions the Kremlin had imposed due to its navy operations in Ukraine.

The Kremlin argues that by offering weapons to Ukraine and sharing intelligence data with Kyiv, the U.S. and its allies have successfully turn into engaged within the struggle, which is now in its thirteenth month.

Russia additionally blamed “the intensification of intelligence actions in opposition to the pursuits of the Russian Federation,” the Protection Ministry mentioned.

Such U.S. actions “are fraught with escalation of the state of affairs within the Black Sea space,” the ministry mentioned, warning that Moscow “will reply in sort to all provocations.”

Sergei Aksenov, the Moscow-appointed head of Crimea, mentioned he thinks Russia ought to act much more forcefully to place an finish the U.S. surveillance flights within the space.

“I personally suppose that our response in such conditions needs to be more durable,” Aksenov mentioned on his messaging app channel. “We notice that tried assaults on Crimea have been launched with People’ steering. The truth is, they’re a warring get together.”

The MQ-9, which has a 66-foot (20-meter) wingspan, features a floor management station and satellite tv for pc tools. It’s able to carrying munitions, however Air Drive Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, wouldn’t say whether or not the ditched drone had been armed.

Ryder mentioned the incident occurred at 7:03 a.m. Central European time (0603 GMT; 2:03 a.m. EST) over worldwide waters, and effectively away from Ukraine, after the Russian jets had flown within the neighborhood of the drone for 30 to 40 minutes.

There didn’t look like any communications between the plane earlier than the collision, Ryder added.

The U.S. has not recovered the crashed drone, U.S. Air Forces-Europe mentioned in a press release, and neither has Russia, Ryder mentioned. Russian officers mentioned Wednesday that they’d attempt to salvage fragments of the MQ-9 from the Black Sea.

U.S. officers have left open the potential for attempting to get well parts of the downed $32 million drone, which they mentioned crashed into waters that have been 4,000 to five,000 ft (1,200 to 1,500 meters) deep.

Different U.S. officers mentioned the U.S. doesn’t have navy ships within the area and certain will not try and get well the wreckage.


Hazell contributed from Washington. ___

Observe AP’s protection of the struggle in Ukraine:

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