US Drone Downed in Black Sea After Being Struck by Russian Fighter Jet, Pentagon Says

A United States reconnaissance drone was forced down over the Black Sea after an “unprofessional intercept” with two Russian fighter jets on Tuesday morning, March 14, the Pentagon said.

Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told reporters the drone, an MQ-9, was flying over international waters when it was intercepted by Russian Su-27s.

He said one of the Russian fighters “struck the propeller of the MQ-9 causing US forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters.”

“Several times before the collision the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless and unprofessional manner,” Ryder said. “This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.”

Ryder added that the US routinely operates drones “over sovereign territory and throughout international airspace in coordination with applicable host nation and international laws” and called on Russia “to conduct themselves professionally and safely.”

In a statement reported by state media, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said the US drone violated “the boundaries of the temporary airspace regime established” for the war in Ukraine and denied any contact occurred between the Russian and US aircrafts. Credit: US Department of Defense via Storyful