Russia decorated the pilots of the fighter planes that attacked the US drone

A Russian Su-27 military aircraft dumps fuel as it flies towards a US Air Force MQ-9 “Reaper” drone over the Black Sea, March 14, 2023 in this still image taken from video released by the Pentagon. Courtesy US European Command/The Pentagon/Handout via REUTERS (US EUROPEAN COMMAND/)

Russia decorated this Wednesday the pilots of the two Russian fighters that were involved in the attack on the US drone in the Black Seawhich sank about 100 kilometers southwest of the Crimean peninsula after allegedly colliding with one of the Su-27 bombers with the MQ-9 Reaper.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu handed them orders of courage for having “prevented the violation by the US MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle of the limits of the temporary airspace restriction zone” established by Russia around Crimea for the military campaign in Ukraine.

Russia considers the flight of the US drone a “provocation”, but denies there was a collisionn, as the US assured, which published images of the incident last week.

In the video you can see that one of the drone’s propellers and one of the props are damaged “after colliding 60 seconds before the Russian Su-27 with the American MQ-9.”

The Russian Defense Ministry reiterated today that the fighters were sent to “identify the intruder” and that the drone lost altitude and hit the surface of the water only “as a result of sudden maneuvers that led to an uncontrolled flight” of the US device.

“The Russian fighters did not use airborne weapons, did not come into contact with the UAV and returned safely to their base airfield,” the department headed by Shoigu emphasized.

This was the attack that caused the demolition of the drone

He US Army European Command. published the declassified images of the incident carried out over the waters of the Black Sea.

As reported by the United States command in a statement, the images show the moment in which “a Russian plane carried out an unsafe and unprofessional interception of a drone.”MQ-9′ of the US Air Force in international airspace over the Black Sea on March 14.”

According to the information published along with the video, the event begins when a Russian plane approaches the rear of the American “MQ-9”. Shortly after the Kremlin airship begins to release fuel in its path and, while doing so, fly above the drone. The US military said the move was an apparent attempt to blind optical instruments of the drone and eject it from the area.

In just a few minutes, the Russian “Su-27” begins a second approach towards the “MQ-9”, releases fuel again and passes even closer to the unmanned device.

Shortly after, the russian plane collides with the drone and the image from the “MQ-9” camera is lost for approximately 60 seconds, says the US command. When the camera recovers the transmission you can see that the propeller and one of the drone’s struts are damaged.

The published fragment does not show the events before or after the apparent confrontation over fuel spillage.

(With information from EFE)

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