US and Russian military make first contact in Ukraine war after Russian jet brings down US drone over Black Sea

By bne IntelliNews March 15, 2023

A US MQ-9 Reaper drone crashed into the Black Sea after its propeller was clipped by a Russian Su-27 fighter plane on March 14, in the first physical contact between Russia and the US military since the war in Ukraine started over a year ago.

The US military claimed that the Russian fighter jet had conducted a reckless intercept and dumped fuel on the drone, possibly attempting to damage or blind it, before colliding with it.

The Russian defence ministry denied the US account and said that the drone had been detected near the Crimea peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Ukraine's President Voldoymyr Zelenskiy said that military commanders were unanimously in favour of defending the eastern frontline, including the ruined city of Bakhmut, which has been under siege by Russia for over nine months.

The incident highlights fears that the conflict in Ukraine might escalate and lead to a direct confrontation between Nato and Russia, resulting in WWIII.

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