US And Russia Exchange Threats Over Downed Drone Incident: Is A New Conflict Brewing?

US And Russia Exchange Threats Over Downed Drone Incident: Is A New Conflict Brewing?

US-Russia tensions rise after a Russian jet shoots down a US drone in the Black Sea, marking the first direct military encounter since Ukraine’s invasion.

American MQ-9 drone in action — Photo: Business Wire/via AP


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  • Tensions between the US and Russia have escalated following the recent shooting down of a US MQ-9 surveillance drone by a Russian Su-27 fighter jet in the Black Sea.
  • The incident marks the first direct military encounter between the two nations since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over a year ago.
  • Both countries have issued warnings to each other, urging caution when operating aircraft in international airspace near their respective territories.

Today, Wednesday, 15 March, the White House and the Kremlin engaged in a heated exchange of warnings and threats in the aftermath of a US surveillance drone being shot down by the Russian military on Tuesday.

As a result of this incident, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov highlighted the “unfortunate” state of US-Russia relations, which have reached a historic low.

The Pentagon reported that a Russian Su-27 fighter jet struck the propeller of the US MQ-9 reconnaissance drone, causing it to crash into the Black Sea.

This marks the first direct military encounter between the United States and Russia since the latter’s invasion of Ukraine over a year ago, stoking fears of potential conflict between the two superpowers.

Since the start of the war, both nations have repeatedly exchanged threats, with Russia continually condemning the provision of arms to Ukraine by Western countries, particularly the US.

In a conversation with CNN International, White House spokesperson John Kirby cautioned Russia to exercise greater care when deploying aircraft into international airspace in proximity to the United States. The Pentagon asserts that the drone was operating over international waters when it was shot down.

Prior to this, the Kremlin issued a comparable warning, emphasizing that it is the responsibility of the US to exercise caution during military exercises near Russia.

Kirby also indicated that the downed drone might never be retrieved, but refrained from commenting on whether any search efforts would be conducted in the area.

A Closer Look at the Confrontation

On Tuesday, 15 March, the US Department of Defense disclosed that two Russian fighter jets executed a “dangerous” intercept of the American spy drone, culminating in a collision between the Su-27 and the unmanned aerial vehicle.

Before the collision, the US contends that the Russian aircraft performed hazardous maneuvers, including dumping fuel on the drone and flying in front of it.

US Air Force General James Hecker stated in a press release, “Our MQ-9 aircraft was carrying out standard operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and struck by a Russian aircraft, leading to a crash and the total loss of the MQ-9.”

The Russian Ministry of Defense countered by claiming that the US drone was detected in close proximity to the Russian border, prompting the deployment of fighter jets to assess the situation. Russian news agency TASS denied the use of airborne weapons and any contact with the US drone.

TASS reported that, “Due to abrupt maneuvers, the US drone entered a state of uncontrolled flight, losing altitude and ultimately colliding with the water’s surface.”

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