Russian jet hits US drone over Black Sea

 The US military has re­leased footage of a Russian jet crashing into one of its drones over the Black Sea.

The US said the damage to the large drone meant it had to be brought down into the water near Crimea on Tuesday.

Russia denied its Su-27 fighter jet clipped the propeller of the drone, but the video appears to back up the American version of events.

It was in the Pentagon’s interest to release this video – not least to verify its version of events.

The BBC has not seen the events before or after the colli­sion.

The US initially said the con­frontation lasted around 30-40 minutes, but the released footage lasts for less than a minute.

On Wednesday night, US Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, said: “We remain confident in the facts we’ve conveyed so far.”

He said then the Pentagon was looking at what video could be released. It is not unusual for militaries to take some time to declassify video footage before making it public.

Mr Austin previously described Russia’s actions as dangerous and reckless – and the edited video released appears to back that up.

A feed from a camera fitted under the fuselage of the sur­veillance drone shows a Russian Su-27 making two extremely close passes while releasing what ap­pears to be fuel as it approaches.

In the first pass it seems to mire the lens of the camera. The second pass is even closer – dis­rupting the video feed from the remotely piloted aircraft.

When the picture returns, a blade of the drone’s propeller at the back of the aircraft can be seen bent out of shape.

Russia has claimed the drone was approaching its territory, but all we can see from the video is sea, sky and cloud.

The US insists the drone was being operated in international air space. However, Moscow ap­peared to suggest on Tuesday that it had imposed a unilateral no-fly zone over the region as part of its invasion of Ukraine.

Russian Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said the drone had “violated boundaries of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation”. -BBC

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