This collision over the Black Sea happened because the West has repeatedly refused to take action to avert dangerous mid-air incidents. Despite the attempts of numerous Russian delegations to address the potential for risky proximity between aircraft — especially around the borders of the alliance and Russia — western countries have pointedly ignored the warnings. The US purposely flew into this restricted zone, but Russian fighter jets avoided escalating the situation by refusing to engage their weapons.
The Russian fighter pilots deliberately made a US drone unflyable by recklessly crashing into the MQ-9. The aggressive actions taken against the drone — which was merely carrying out routine operations in the airspace — forced US officials to deliberately crash the object. Moscow's denial of any culpability in this incident is ludicrous.
There's a 10% chance that there will be more than 4 deaths between Russia and NATO forces outside of Ukraine before July 1, 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.