Black Sea drones show US involvement in conflict against Russia, Kremlin says
(Corrects Black Sea from Baltic Sea in first paragraph)
(Reuters) – US drone flights over the Black Sea are a sign of direct US involvement in the conflict with Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Last week, a US drone crashed into the sea after being intercepted by Russian Su-27 fighter jets in the first known direct military encounter between the two sides since Russia started its war in Ukraine last year.
“It’s pretty obvious what these drones are doing, and their mission is by no means a peaceful mission to ensure the safety of shipping in international waters,” Peskov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency in a TV interview.
“And indeed we are talking about the direct involvement of the operators of these drones in the conflict and against us.”
Political cartoons about world leaders
The United States said the Russian planes harassed the drone in Tuesday’s incident and sprayed fuel on it before one of them clipped the propeller and crashed it during a reconnaissance mission in international airspace.
Russia said the drone violated airspace restrictions and lost control after maneuvering sharply.
The Russian defense minister presented awards to the airmen involved, in response to US allegations that the incident showed recklessness and possible incompetence on the part of the pilots.
Moscow says the United States and its allies are using Ukraine to wage war against them and inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia. Washington says it’s helping Ukraine defend itself against an unprovoked Russian invasion.
(Reuters report, edited by David Goodman and Peter Graff)
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