On March 14, an MQ-9 Reaper drone operated by the US Air Force crashed after approaching a Russian Su-27 fighter aircraft over the Black Sea.
The US European Command has released video footage of the incident, which it describes as an “unsafe and unprofessional intercept” by the two Russian aircraft.
The Russian Ministry of Defence has claimed that the US drone was flying with its transponders turned off and had violated the borders of a temporary airspace regime established for a special military operation.
The Su-27, according to the Ministry, did not use weapons and did not make contact with the drone.
The drone then went into an uncontrolled flight, made a sharp manoeuvre and crashed into the water surface.
Following the incident, Washington and Moscow engaged in several discussions between military officials.
The Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, reportedly described US drone flights near Crimea as “provocative” and creating preconditions for an escalation of the situation in the Black Sea region.
In response, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that the US would continue to fly and operate its aircraft wherever international law allows.
The Kremlin has confirmed that both military and diplomatic channels were involved in the discussions, with the presidents of both countries being briefed about the incident.
However, there has been no direct contact between the leaders on this issue.