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U.S. drone struck down by Russia

A Russian warplane struck a U.S. surveillance drone over the Black Sea yesterday, hitting the drone’s propeller and causing its American operators to bring it down in international waters, according to the Pentagon. It was the first known physical contact between the Russian and American militaries since the war in Ukraine started last February. It immediately escalated tensions between the White House and the Kremlin as the U.S. accused the Russian forces involved in the incident of behaving dangerously. U.S. military officials said the unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drone had been flying a typical reconnaissance mission when it was intercepted by two Russian Su-27 fighter jets about 75 miles southwest of the Crimean Peninsula. “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,” the military’s European Command said in a statement. “This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington and has effectively turned the Black Sea into a battle zone. Russia has blockaded Ukrainian vessels within their own ports, although Ukraine has been able to export its grain across the sea under a deal signed last July between the two warring countries.

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