On March 16, 2023, the US Department of Defense claimed that Russia caused the collision of a Russian fighter jet and a US spy drone, resulting in the drone’s crash into the Black Sea. A 40-second video shows a Russian Su-27 fighter approaching the drone, resulting in the loss of the video signal after a second attempt by a Russian plane.
Russia, on the other hand, denies the collision, stating that the drone crashed while making “sharp manoeuvres” and passing too close to Russian airspace near Crimea. Still, the White House believes that images in the video indicate Russia’s dishonesty.
Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder charged that the “aggressive behaviour” of the Russian pilots “was intentional.” However, the incident would not alter US plans to continue assisting Ukraine in defending itself against Russian invasion, he added.
The US was also convinced that Russia would not recover the remains of the crashed drone due to several factors, primarily the fact that it sank in deep and dangerous waters. Additionally, the US safeguarded all information gathered by its surveillance device during the operation. Regardless of Russia’s culpability in the crash, the US plans to continue operating in international airspace within Black Sea limits.