The State Department has summoned Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the US, to voice protest after a Russian fighter jet collided with and destroyed an American Reaper drone over the Black Sea.
US officials said the MQ-9 surveillance drone was downed early on Tuesday following an ‘unsafe and unprofessional intercept’ in international airspace by two Russian Su-27 fighter jets.
Pentagon officials said the Russian fighters harassed the drone by dumping fuel on it and flying in front of it, before one Su-27 clipped the propeller of the $32 million drone, forcing it down over the Black Sea in a total loss of the unmanned aircraft.
‘This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional,’ said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder in a press briefing.
In a statement, Russia’s Defense Ministry denied colliding with the US drone, saying the American aircraft went into ‘uncontrolled flight’ due to ‘sharp maneuvering’.