Russia offers state awards to fighter pilots concerned in U.S. drone crash incident


Russian fighter pilots concerned in an encounter with a U.S. drone that resulted in its crash got state awards, the Protection Ministry introduced Friday. The transfer seems to sign Moscow’s intention to undertake a extra aggressive stance towards future U.S. surveillance flights.

“Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu offered state awards to the Su-27 pilots who prevented an American MQ-9 drone from violating (Russia’s) momentary airspace,” the ministry stated.

The U.S. army stated it ditched the Air Power MQ-9 Reaper within the Black Sea on Tuesday after a pair of Russian fighter jets dumped gas on the surveillance drone after which one among them struck its propeller whereas it was flying in worldwide airspace. Moscow has denied that its warplanes hit the drone, alleging that it crashed whereas making a pointy maneuver. It stated that its warplanes reacted to a violation of a no-flight zone Russia has established within the space close to Crimea amid the combating in Ukraine.

On Friday, Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu lauded the pilots for stopping the drone from flying into the realm that Moscow has banned for flights. The Protection Ministry stated the ban was “according to worldwide norms.” Moscow reiterated its stance that the pilots “didn’t use on-board weapons, made no contact with the UAV and safely returned to their residence airfield.”  

Moscow’s announcement comes a day after the U.S. army launched a declassified 42-second video displaying a Russian Su-27 fighter jet approaching the again of the U.S. drone and releasing gas because it passes in a maneuver that seemed to be geared toward blinding the drone’s optical devices to drive it from the realm.

On a second method, both the identical jet or one other Russian Su-27 that had been shadowing the MQ-9 struck the drone’s propeller, damaging a blade, in line with the U.S. army, which stated it then ditched the drone within the sea. The video excerpt doesn’t present the collision, though it does present the harm to the propeller.

The highest U.S. and Russian protection and army 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 Normal Workers, had been the primary since October.

Whereas calling out Russia for “reckless” motion, the White Home additionally tried to keep away from exacerbating tensions. U.S. officers pressured that traces of communication with Moscow stay open.

High White Home nationwide safety spokesman John Kirby advised CBS Information that the incident is not going to deter missions and won’t result in U.S. army escorts of future drone flights.

“This was a deliberate, aggressive, overly aggressive transfer by this pilot,” Kirby advised CBS Information on this week’s episode of “The Takeout.”

Kirby stated if the Russians handle to get better the wreckage of the MQ-9 Reaper drone from the Black Sea, it could yield virtually nothing of worth. 

“They will not discover something of any intrinsic worth, I can guarantee you of that,” Kirby stated. “We took steps to mitigate any intelligence assortment functionality. No matter could be left on the floor would seemingly be … items of wings or the fuselage. Uncertain that is going to be of any worth to anyone. When it comes to intelligence … we aren’t involved that they are going to get something of worth. The water they’re within the Black Sea proper there’s 4,000 to five,000 toes deep. Something of worth, the {hardware} on the drone, may have sunk. I discover it impossible that they are going to have the ability to get better something like that.”

Officers: Russia at website of U.S. drone wreckage in Black Sea


Russian officers additionally emphasised the necessity to preserve traces of communication, however they harshly denounced the U.S. motion as smug disregard of Moscow’s no-flight zone.

“This can be a clear signal that Russia will hold downing the American drones,” pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov wrote in a commentary on the award announcement. “This choice will obtain a powerful assist from the Russian society that wishes the federal government to toughen its coverage.”

Moscow has repeatedly voiced concern about U.S. intelligence flights near Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014 amid sturdy worldwide condemnation. The Kremlin has charged the U.S. and its allies of successfully changing into engaged within the battle by offering weapons and sharing intelligence with Kyiv.

Some Russian officers charged that the U.S. surveillance flights helped collect intelligence that allowed Ukraine to strike Russian targets.

AFP contributed to this report.

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