Day 385: Russian Ambassador to US Summoned Over Black Sea Drone Crash
Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, was summoned to a meeting with the State Dept. on Tuesday after a US surveillance drone crashed into the waters of the Black Sea, near the Crimean peninsula which Russia annexed in 2014...
- Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, was summoned to a meeting with the State Dept. on Tuesday after a US surveillance drone crashed into the waters of the Black Sea, near the Crimean peninsula which Russia annexed in 20141
- In a statement, the US European Command said two Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted the MQ-9 Reaper drone while it was operating within international airspace. It added that the Russian jets dumped fuel on the drone and and flew in front of it several times in 'a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,' before one of the jets struck the propeller of the drone, causing it to go down in international waters.1
- Meanwhile, Russia's defense ministry said the drone had its transponders switched off and was flying in airspace declared off-limits by Russia as part of its 'special military operation' — stating that this restriction was communicated with countries in accordance with international norms. The ministry also said that its jets had not fired their weapons or made any physical contact with the drone.2
- After being summoned, Antonov described the flying of the drone a 'hostile' act and said it was used to 'gather intelligence which is later used by the Kyiv regime to attack our armed forces and territory.' He further argued the US would behave in the same way if a Russian surveillance drone was operating near San Francisco or New York.3
- Nonetheless, Antonov added: 'We believe it is important that the lines of communication should remain open. Russia does not seek confrontation and stands for pragmatic cooperation in the interests of the peoples of our countries.'3
- Elsewhere, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner PMC, said on Wednesday that his forces had taken control of Zaliznyanskoye, a further settlement near Bakhmut, as his forces continue with plans to encircle the city. A spokesman for Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated on Tuesday that defending Bakhmut remained a top priority for Ukraine.4
- In attacks over the past day, Ukrainian officials said one civilian was killed and 16 more were injured in Russian attacks on the Donetsk region. Meanwhile, two civilians were killed and one more was injured in Kharkiv while four civilians were injured in Kherson. The regions of Sumy, Odesa and Zaporizhzhia were also attacked without reports of civilian casualties.5
Sources: 1Associated Press, 2Tass (a), 3Tass (b), 4Tass (c) and 5Ukrainska pravda.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Associated press. The US drone was conducting routine operations in international waters. The actions of Russian pilots were unsafe, unprofessional and a brazen violation of international law. This incident could have led to a dangerous escalation between two nuclear-armed superpowers.
- Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by Tass. The US drone strayed into a restricted zone with its transponders turned off. It did this to gather intelligence which would be used in Ukrainian attacks on Russia and its armed forces. This was a hostile act and Russia responded to the threat appropriately.