The United States European Command (EUCOM) has reported that a Russian Su-27 fighter jet collided with the propeller of an American Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday, causing the drone to crash into international waters.
According to a statement, EUCOM said that “Two Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept with a U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 aircraft that was operating within international airspace over the Black Sea.”
“At approximately 7:03 AM (CET), one of the Russian Su-27 aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters. Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner. This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.”
The Russian jet is believed to still be airborne.
Both Russian and American aircraft operate over international waters of the Black Sea, but this is the first known interception since the start of the invasion. The Russian military or government has yet to release a statement on the incident.