An article appeared on the RIA Novosti website under the heading “Alleged video of an emergency with an American UAV over the Black Sea has been published.” It includes a 40-second fragment of video footage released by the Pentagon, made by the Reaper MQ-9 drone before the crash.
The Russian agency commented on the video as follows:
“The Pentagon has released an alleged video of an incident with an American drone over the Black Sea. Drone footage allegedly showing a Russian Su-27 has surfaced on a military-themed release site.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the incident occurred the day before yesterday in the morning in the Crimean region. An American drone with transponders turned off flew in the direction of Russia, violating the borders of the area of the temporary regime for the use of airspace, established for the purpose of conducting a special military operation. After the discovery of the drone, Russian fighters from the duty air defense forces took to the air.
The drone went into uncontrollable flight with a loss of altitude and fell into the water due to sudden maneuvering. Russian fighters did not come into contact with the MQ-9, did not use airborne weapons and returned safely to their home airfield, the military department stressed.
US authorities say the drone went down after its aft propeller rammed a Russian fighter jet.
According to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Washington does not take into account the fact that after the start of the special operation in Ukraine, there are restrictions on flights in the coastal regions of the Black Sea. He pointed out that such US actions look like a provocation aimed at increasing tensions. According to the minister, the United States is constantly talking about being a responsible power interested in strategic stability. However, as the diplomat noted, their statements are at odds with the case.”
Surprisingly, RIA continues to insist on the version of the Russian Ministry of Defense, while publishing a video proving its inconsistency. A rear-facing camera on the underside of the drone's fuselage captured the approach of the Su-27, the drone's rotating propeller, and another approach of the Russian fighter jet. This is followed by a short-term disruption of the image, and when it is restored, it turns out that one of the propeller blades is bent, and the other is completely destroyed.
As for the statements of the Ministry of Defense and Lavrov about the violation by the American drone of the allegedly existing temporary restrictions for flights over the Black Sea, military expert Yuri Fedorov explained on the air of the Breakfast Show program on Alexander Plushev's YouTube channel:
“The Russian Federation has declared that a certain area above the neutral international waters of the Black Sea is an area in which a special air traffic regime operates in connection with the conduct of a “special military operation”. Apparently, this is a strip along the air borders of the Russian Federation, coinciding in this case with the borders of the territorial sea. The territorial sea is 12 nautical miles from the coastline, that is, about 20 km. At this distance, the border of the Russian Federation itself passes, including the air border.
By a unilateral statement, the Russian Federation has introduced a certain special regime of traffic in this area outside its borders. In principle, this is possible. Such measures are being taken; if there are naval or air military exercises, firing, for example, if there are missile firings during tests of long-range missiles, warheads fly into the Pacific Ocean, as it sometimes happened, a certain area is declared closed for some time.
But in fact, this is not so much a closed area, that is, no one can prohibit the passage of foreign ships or aircraft in this area. This is a kind of warning that it is dangerous to appear there: “we are not responsible if something happens to you”; this is an advocacy practice. That is, simply saying “we forbid entering this place, this area outlined by certain coordinates” is impossible, but you can warn - “then we are not responsible.”
In other words, the incident should be considered as an attack on a drone that was in international airspace and did not violate anything. Even if the collision was not the result of a deliberate ramming (the American side does not blame the Russian pilots for this), dumping fuel directly in the direction of the drone, as a result of which it ends up in a cloud of kerosene droplets, is an undoubted conscious attempt to make its movement impossible. As the same Fedorov notes, "it is clear that this is a method designed to destroy or severely damage an aircraft that enters this cloud, and this cloud easily ignites."