Senator Mark Kelly flew with Russian pilots in the Navy and NASA, and he said the Russian fighter jet hitting a US drone shows “how incompetent they are.”
Senator Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., waits to speak during a press conference at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix November 7, 2022. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, file
A US drone crashed over the Black Sea last week after a Russian fighter jet cut its propeller.
A think tank suspected the move was an “aggressive embassy” from Russia.
Sen. Mark Kelly, a former Navy fighter pilot, said it was an example of Russia’s incompetence.
Senator Mark Kelly flew as a US Navy fighter pilot and as a NASA astronaut with Russian pilots.
He said the incident last week in which a Russian fighter jet dumped fuel on the propeller of a US military drone and then cut it off showed how “reckless” and “incompetent” they were.
“That does not surprise me. I mean, I’ve flown with Russian pilots, fighter pilots who couldn’t fly in formation. And I watched this video and it’s pretty obvious what happened. He lost sight of it and fell into it,” Kelly told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union on Sunday.
On Tuesday, two Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted a US military MQ-9 Reaper drone flying over international waters over the Black Sea. The jets spilled fuel on the drone, and one jet eventually grazed the drone’s propeller. The drone eventually crashed into the water.
Insider previously reported that a think tank analysis indicated that this was an aggressive embassy from Russia, US officials said the incident was most likely due to Russians not knowing how to fly.
The incident has further worsened the strained relationship between Washington and the Kremlin since Russia invaded Ukraine last February.
Kelly likened the fighter jet incident to “the incompetence we see every day on the battlefield in Ukraine.”
“That’s why the losses the Russians are suffering right now are really high. At this point, I think the best bet for Vladimir Putin would be to say, ‘Hey, this isn’t working,’ and he needs to illegally stop the invasion,” Kelly said.
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