US Shows Russian Jet Footage in Black Sea Drone Encounter

    Photo: US European Command [via CNN]

    The Facts

    • On Thursday, the US European Command released declassified video footage from the encounter between a US surveillance drone and Russian fighter jets over the Black Sea earlier in the week.

    • The 42-second clip — part of an encounter that the Pentagon said lasted between 30 and 40 minutes — shows a Russian Su-27 jet approach the back of the US MQ-9 Reaper drone before dumping fuel as it passes over. In another portion of the clip, a Russian jet repeats the action, this time closer to the drone and seemingly disrupting the video transmission. Once video returns, damage can be seen to the drone's propeller, supporting the US case that there was contact between the two aircrafts.

    The Spin

    Pro-Russia narrative

    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.

    Anti-Russia narrative

    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.

    Nerd narrative

    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.

    Establishment split



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