Video shows Russian jet colliding with US drone
 (U.S. European Command photo)

Video shows Russian jet colliding with US drone

Video footage released Thursday by U.S. European Command shows a Russian fighter jet buzzing past a U.S. Reaper drone above the Black Sea multiple times, before colliding with the aircraft.

The 42-second video depicts a Russian Su-27 aircraft trailing an unmanned MQ-9 aircraft that was operating within international airspace. The incident, which occurred Tuesday morning, involved two Russian Su-27s, one of which struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to bring the drone down in international waters.

The video was recorded by a camera angled at the rear of the surveillance aircraft, which captured the incoming Russian fighters dumping fuel on the drone as it passed on two occasions. The video then goes grainy after the second pass, indicating some kind of collision.

While intercepts between U.S. and Russian military aircraft have happened repeatedly in recent years, the incident marked the first known collision. It set off a diplomatic firestorm between two countries already deeply at odds over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Following the crash of the MQ-9, the U.S. summoned Russia’s ambassador in Washington. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also spoke with Russia’s defense chief, Sergei Shoigu, about the issue.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that the downed drone was likely unrecoverable. But he didn’t rule out trying to get the wreckage back.

“It’s probably about maybe 4,000 or 5,000 feet of water, something like that. So any recovery operation is very difficult at that depth by anyone,” Miley said.

Still, Milley said steps were taken to ensure that any sensitive intelligence aboard the aircraft was “no longer of value” should the Russians recover it.

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday blamed the incident on the U.S., saying the drone maneuvered sharply and crashed after Russian fighters scrambled to intercept it near Crimea.

But EUCOM, following the collision, said the incident followed a pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots in international airspace, including over the Black Sea.

“These aggressive actions by Russian air crew are dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation,” a EUCOM statement said.