MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu presented state awards to the pilots of the Su-27 fighters launched by a US drone over the Black Sea this week.. The agency said the pilots prevented the violation of “the limits of the zone of temporary use of airspace”.
On March 14, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu presented state awards to the pilots of Su-27 fighters that took off from behind a US drone over the Black Sea, the ministry reported on its Telegram channel.
The Defense Department pointed out that the pilots prevented “the violation” by the US drone of the “borders of the zone of the temporary use regime of airspace”, set to conduct a “special military operation”. At the same time, the agency stressed that the Russian fighters did not use aerial weapons, did not come into contact with the drone and returned safely to their base airport.
The accident of the MQ-9 reconnaissance drone in the Black Sea was reported by the European Command [EUCOM] on the night of March 14. According to the American side, the Russian Su-27 hit the propeller of the drone, after which it was overrun by the Americans in international waters. The United States claims that Russian fighters carried out an “unsafe and unprofessional” interception of a drone carrying out missions in international space.
On March 16, EUCOM released a video it says captures the moment the Su-27 collides with a US drone.. The description of the video states that the Russian plane dumped fuel in front of the drone and hit the propeller.
The incident sparked a flurry of humorous comments and memes on social media across the internet. Especially after the video footage from the drone’s camera was released of the moment when Russian planes dumped fuel on the American drone. Some jokers described the incident as “the Su-27 urinated on a US drone”.
The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, denied that any of its planes had come into contact with the US drone. The agency maintains that the drone began an uncontrolled flight with loss of altitude and fell into the water as a result of a “sharp maneuver”.
Following the incident, Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, was summoned to the US State Department, where he said constructive talks took place. On March 15, Russian and US Defense Ministers Sergei Shoigu and Lloyd Austin discussed the incident by telephone. The US State Department acknowledged that the incident was not intentional, but noted the “potential for escalation”.