Moscow sees drone incident as provocation — Russia’s ambassador to US

Reuters filepix for illustration purpose only.

Reuters filepix for illustration purpose only.

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MELBOURNE (March 15): Russia views the incident involving one of its Su-27 fighter jet and a US military drone over the Black Sea as provocation, its ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said in remarks published early on Wednesday.

"The American UAV was deliberately and provocatively moving towards Russian territory with transponders turned off," Antonov said in remarks posted on his embassy's website, referring to the drone as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

"We view this incident as a provocation," Antonov told Russian agencies on Tuesday, after being summoned by the US State Department.

The US military MQ-9 surveillance drone crashed into the Black Sea on Tuesday, after a Russian Su-27 jet struck its propeller, the Pentagon said, the first such incident since Russia's invasion of Ukraine over a year ago.

Russia has denied that any contact was made and says the drone crashed after "sharp maneuvering".

"The unacceptable activity of the US military in the close proximity to our borders is a cause for concern," Antonov said. "They are collecting intelligence, which is subsequently used by the Kyiv regime to strike at our armed forces and territory."

Antonov said his meeting at the State Department was "constructive" and the issue of possible "consequences" for Russia over the incident was not raised, the RIA news agency reported.

"We believe it is important that the lines of communication remain open," the embassy quoted Antonov as saying. "Russia does not seek confrontation and stands for pragmatic cooperation in the interests of the peoples of our countries."