US Drone Collision with Russian Jet Ignites Diplomatic Turmoil

Tensions between the US and Russia escalated on Tuesday after a Russian fighter jet harassed and subsequently collided with a US surveillance drone over the Black Sea, causing the uncrewed aircraft to crash in the water. The has further heightened the already strained relationship between the two due to the ongoing war in .

Following the event, the State Department summoned Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov to for an official reprimand. State Department spokesperson Ned Price informed reporters that Antonov was expected at the department later on Tuesday.

Price also mentioned that the US administration was briefing allies and partners about the collision and had been in contact with Russian officials. According to Price, US Ambassador Lynne Tracy in Moscow has conveyed concerns to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The MQ-9 Reaper drone was undertaking a routine flight when it was intercepted by two Russian Su-27 fighter jets on Tuesday. US European Command stated that the warplanes released jet fuel on the drone and recklessly flew in front of it in an “environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner.” One of the Russian jets then collided with the drone's propeller, leaving it inoperable and forcing US operators to discard it in the Black Sea.

Air Force Gen. James Hecker, commander of US Air Forces , said in a statement that the Russians' unsafe and unprofessional actions nearly caused both aircraft to crash. He emphasized that US and Allied aircraft would continue to operate in international airspace and urged the Russians to act professionally and safely.

Drone collision happens as war in Ukraine enters its second year

The drone collision comes as the war in Ukraine enters its second year. President Joe Biden is determined to keep US forces out of the conflict while continuing to support Ukraine in its struggle against Moscow.

The statement also highlighted that the Black Sea event is part of “a pattern of dangerous actions” involving US and allied aircraft and Russian planes.

European Command warned that such aggressive behavior by Russian aircrew is dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby noted during a Tuesday briefing with reporters that this was the first time an aerial intercept had resulted in the loss of a US drone. The cost of a single Reaper drone is approximately $14 million.

NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, Gen. Christopher Cavoli, has briefed allies on the incident, according to a NATO official. An anonymous senior diplomat in Eastern Europe, granted anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue, expressed concern about the incident, noting that it demonstrates the aggressiveness of Russian conduct and underscores the importance of the Black Sea and the need for a medium and long-term approach.

Senator Roger Wicker, the leading Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, reportedly emphasized that this incident should act as an alarm for isolationists, highlighting the dangers presented by Vladimir Putin.

The senator argued that Putin aims to deter the US from supporting Ukraine and prevent the reversal of his destructive policies by provoking incidents like these. Wicker urged the US to project strength against its adversary rather than appeasing the dictator with words or so-called “de-escalation.”

Photo credit: Senior Airman Christa Anderson/U.S. Air National Guard

Follow on your Google News feed.

Get your Part 107 Certificate

Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.

pilot institute dronexl

FTC: uses affiliate links that generate income.* We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email, ever. Our email goes out on weekdays around 5:30 p.m.

Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

Articles: 2418

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap
%d bloggers like this: