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Russia Will Reward Pilots Associated With the US Drone Incident

By 03/19/2023 11:53 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

State medals will be presented to Russian fighter pilots engaged in a collision with a U.S. drone that led to its crash, the Defense Ministry stated on Friday.

The action indicates Moscow’s determination to take a more hostile posture regarding upcoming American surveillance planes.

The Russian fighter aircraft damaged the drone’s propeller and dropped gasoline on it as it was flying in international airspace, according to the U.S. military, which then ditched the Air Force MQ-9 Reaper in the Black Sea on Tuesday.

Moscow claims that the drone crashed after a sudden maneuver and denied that its warplanes hit it. It claimed a violation of a no-fly zone that Russia had imposed in the area near Crimea amid the fighting in Ukraine.

Sergei Shoigu, the defense minister, praised the pilots on Friday for keeping the drone out of the restricted airspace set by Moscow. The restriction was “in conformity with international norms,” the Defense Ministry stressed.

Moscow’s declaration comes a day after the U.S. military declassified a 42-second color video showing a Russian Su-27 fighter jet approaching the back of the American drone and releasing fuel as it passes in a maneuver that appeared to be intended to blind the drone’s optical equipment and force it out of the area.

According to the U.S. military, the drone’s propeller was hit by either the same jet or another Russian Su-27 following the MQ-9 on a second approach, destroying a blade. The drone was then discarded, the military claimed.

In their first phone discussions since October, the top defense and military officials of the United States and Russia discussed the drone’s destruction on Wednesday, highlighting how serious the incident was.

The White House avoided escalating tensions while criticizing Moscow for its “reckless” actions. In addition to stating that contact channels with Moscow are still open, U.S. officials noted that they have not been able to determine if the Russian pilot struck the American drone on purpose.

Russian authorities stressed the necessity of keeping channels of communication open but sharply criticized the American move for its blatant contempt for Moscow’s no-fly zone.

“The Americans have become far too gross,” stated Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, which is presided over by President Vladimir Putin, in a statement on Friday. “Of course, relations between the military are vital,” he continued more circumspectly.

Pro-Kremlin political expert Sergei Markov cited the prize given to the pilots who buzzed the American drone as “a clear hint that Russia will keep downing the American drones.”

Markov said that Russian society wants the government to toughen its stance and will strongly embrace this choice.

Moscow has expressed worry over American spy flights passing close to Crimea on numerous occasions. Crimea was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, to considerable international outcry.

According to certain Russian authorities, American surveillance flights assisted in gathering intelligence that enabled Ukraine to attack Russian sites.


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