On Tuesday, Russian jets intercepted an American drone on a reconnaissance mission off the coast of Ukraine. It’s the first physical contact of the American and Russian militaries since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Experts fear this could increase tensions between our two countries. >> Full story
- The basics: What you need to know about the spat between the US and Russia over a downed drone (CNN)
- Go deeper: The Tensions That Lie Behind Russia ‘Downing’ A US Spy Drone (Huffington Post)
- The big picture: Are we in a new Cold War? (Left-leaning Vox)
Angie: It’s what could be the start of a very bad situation.
SOT: “At approximately 7:03 AM Central European time, one of the Russian Su-27 struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters.”
On Tuesday, a Russian fighter jet intercepted and took down an American drone that was on a reconnaissance mission near a part of Ukraine called Crimea. The area has been occupied by Russian forces, though the Pentagon says the drone was in international waters.
SOT: “Several times before the collision the SU-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless and unprofessional manner.”
The Pentagon says the dumped fuel was an apparent attempt to damage the drone’s cameras or sensors. The drone was forced to crash into the sea, but the Russian jets didn’t leave unscathed.
SOT: “We assess that it likely caused some damage to the Russian aircraft as well. To our knowledge, well, we know that the aircraft, the Russian aircraft did land. I’m not going to go into where they landed, but again, it’s just demonstrative of very unprofessional, unsafe airmanship on the part of these pilots.”
It’s the first time direct physical contact between the militaries of U.S. and Russia has gone down since the Ukraine War started.
Last February, Ukraine was invaded by its neighbor Russia in an attempt to take Ukrainian territory.
The U.S. and our allies in Europe have called Russia’s invasion illegal and have been providing military assistance to the Ukrainians to help fend off Russia.
Experts have long worried that an accident or misunderstanding, like this downing of an American drone, could lead to a bigger conflict between the United States, Europe, and Russia.
But the last thing anybody – on any side wants – is an actual war between the U.S. and Russia, so both sides have been working to de-escalate the situation.