Russia has warned the United States to cease “hostile” activity near its border after the dramatic incident involving an American drone over the Black Sea. Ukraine said Wednesday that the episode — the first known direct confrontation between the two superpowers since the war began last year — illustrated the Kremlin’s desire to expand the conflict.
According to DNYUZ, A Russian fighter jet harassed and then collided with the propeller of an MQ-9 Reaper drone on Tuesday, forcing the U.S. to bring the drone down in international waters, the U.S. military said. Washington said it was a “brazen violation of international law” and summoned Moscow’s envoy to lodge a protest.
But Russia denied its planes came “into contact” with the drone and accused the U.S. of being to blame for conducting surveillance near its airspace to help Ukraine.
“We proceed from the fact that the United States will refrain from further speculations in the media landscape and stop making sorties near the Russian borders,” the country’s ambassador to the U.S. said after his meeting at the State Department.
“We perceive any actions involving the use of American weapons and military equipment as openly hostile,” ambassador Anatoly Antonov said according to a statement published on the embassy’s Telegram on Wednesday.
Antonov insisted that the Russian fighter jets didn’t hit the American drone or use their weapons. He echoed earlier assertions from Moscow’s defense ministry, which said it had scrambled planes to intercept the drone after it intruded into an area near Crimea that Russia had declared off limits for the purposes of what it calls its “special military operation.”
“The unacceptable actions of the United States military in the close proximity to our borders are cause for concern,” Antonov said. “They gather intelligence, which is subsequently used by the Kyiv regime to strike at our armed forces and territory.”
Meanwhile, RAF and German fighter jets were scrambled to intercept a Russian aircraft flying close to Estonian airspace. It is the first time British and German air forces have carried out a joint Nato air policing operation.
The response on Tuesday saw the pair of British and German Typhoon jets react to a Russian Il-78 air-to-air refueling aircraft between flying St Petersburg and Kaliningrad
According to TheSun, It was escorted after failing to communicate with Estonian air traffic control. The allied fighters also intercepted an AN-148 plane from Russia. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, two Norweigan F-35s were quickly deployed to head off two Russian military aircraft – a MiG-31 and NOR F-35 – in international airspace.
It comes as British pilots conduct joint air policing missions in Estonia alongside the German air force for the first time as the UK prepares to take over the lead in Nato missions in the country, which borders Russia.
The Ministry of Defence stressed the “routine” nature of the mission, but it comes amid tensions between the West and Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. Armed forces minister James Heappey said: “Nato continues to form the bedrock of our collective security.
“This joint UK and German deployment in the Baltics clearly demonstrates our collective resolve to challenge any potential threat to Nato’s borders, whilst demonstrating our combined strength.”
A Typhoon pilot from the RAF’s IX(Bomber) Squadron, who was not named by the Ministry of Defence, said: “We were scrambled to intercept an aircraft that was approaching Estonian airspace. We identified and monitored it as it transited close to Nato airspace.
“Any aircraft that are not communicating with Air Traffic Control or on a recognized flight plan will be intercepted by us to ensure we know who they are and maintain flight safety for all airspace users. “As a fighter pilot, this was a routine business, even though I was flying alongside a German colleague. “It is clear that all of our training and hard work paid off as we seamlessly operated together.”