Putin has decorated this Friday the pilots involved in the incident in the Black Sea with an American drone that, according to Washington, crashed after being hit by Russian fighters, which Moscow denies. The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu“presented State decorations to the Su-27 pilots, who prevented the violation by an American MQ-9 drone of the temporary regime zone for the use of airspace,” his ministry said in a statement.
As part of its military offensive in Ukraine, Moscow had unilaterally announced flight restrictions in the sky of the Black Seascene of very frequent interactions between drones and aircraft of NATO countries and the Russian armed forces.
On Thursday, the US military released footage of the interception Tuesday over the Black Sea of its drone by the Russian military, showing a fighter spraying the drone with fuel. The latter is then observed to have a damaged propeller blade.
Although Russia acknowledges that two fighters intercepted the drone, claims not to be responsible for his fall and ensures that one of the causes of the incident was the “increase” of US espionage activities.
On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry once again claimed that the Russian pilots did not “use their weapons, contact the drone and return safely to their base.”
According to Moscow, the US drone sank in the sea “following sudden maneuvers around 06:30 GMT.”
On the other hand, also in the context of the invasion of Ukraine, the Slovak authorities will send thirteen MiG-29 fighters and part of the Kub air defense system to Ukraine, as announced this Friday by the Slovak Prime Minister, Edward Hegerafter a meeting of his cabinet.