The US today released a minute-long declassified video footage of an armed Russian Su-27 aircraft conducting what it called "an unsafe/unprofessional intercept" of a US Air Force MQ-9 in international airspace over the Black Sea on March 14.
The footage, posted on Twitter by the US European Command, shows the Russian jet approaching the rear of the US Air Force MQ-9 unmanned drone, which begins to release fuel as it passes over it. The video transmission abruptly stops just as the Russian jet passes by. The propeller of the drone can be seen intact, and the Russian jet begins a second approach towards it seconds later. It releases fuel over it again, while passing by even closer this time. One of the propellers could be seen damaged after the second manoeuvre.
The Russian fighter jet had on Tuesday dumped fuel on the American drone and then collided with it, causing the drone to crash, the US military had said, slamming the manoeuvre as "reckless".
The US military had said that "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."
Moscow had denied causing the crash of the drone, which the Pentagon said was on a routine ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) mission.
Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu told the Pentagon chief yesterday that Washington's "increased" intelligence gathering against Russia had led to a drone incident, Moscow said.
Russia's ambassador to the United States also called on Washington to stop "hostile" flights near his country's border