Video of a Russian plane colliding with one of the US military’s drones over the Black Sea has been made public by the US military.
The huge drone had to be brought down into the water close to Crimea on Tuesday, according to the US, because of damage.
Although Russia claimed their Su-27 fighter jet did not strike the drone’s propeller, the footage seems to support the American account of what happened.
Video shows Russian fighter jet hitting U.S. military drone
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated on Wednesday night that “we remain confident in the facts we have so far provided.”
The Pentagon was considering what video could be released, he added later. Militaries frequently take some time to declassify video material before making it available to the public.
The edited video that was released seems to support Mr. Austin’s previous assessment that Russia’s actions were reckless and dangerous.
A Russian Su-27 is seen making two extremely close passes while releasing what appears to be fuel as it gets closer in a feed from a camera mounted under the surveillance drone’s fuselage.
The camera lens appears to be mangled during the initial pass. The video feed from the remotely piloted aircraft is interrupted by the second pass, which is even closer.
A drone’s propeller blade at the back of the aircraft can be seen bent out of shape when the image is returned.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told CBS, the US broadcast partner of the BBC, that it was unclear whether the Russian action was intentional or unintentional.
The moves were “totally inappropriate, hazardous, and unprofessional,” he claimed, therefore it didn’t matter.
He declared that surveillance flights over the Black Sea would continue, but that military escorts were not necessary and would endanger the safety of the pilots.
The drone was allegedly approaching Russian territory, however the video only shows the ocean, the sky, and some clouds.
On Tuesday, Russia made it seem as though it had unilaterally enforced a no-fly zone over the area as part of its invasion of Ukraine.
The drone “violated borders of the temporary airspace rule established for the special military operation,” according to Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the US.
Nonetheless, Mr. Kirby asserted that the airspace was unrestricted and global.
The US said that Russian jets repeatedly dropped fuel on the drone before the accident in a statement made available hours after the crash.
The drone was “unflyable and unmanageable,” Pentagon spokesman Brig Gen Pat Ryder told reporters, adding that the Russian aircraft was probably also damaged in the crash.
The drone fell after a “sharp manoeuvre,” according to the Russian defence ministry, and it was flying without its transponders, or communication equipment.
The revelation of the American footage has not yet elicited a response from the Kremlin. The drone’s remains are being sought after, according to Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s security council, on Wednesday.
According to US media, Russian ships were spotted on Thursday at the location of the fallen drone on the Black Sea.
Mr. Kirby said that although the US was looking for the plane as well, “their potential to leverage meaningful intelligence will be highly reduced” if Russia found it first.
The US has taken “mitigating procedures” to guarantee there was nothing of value on the fallen drone, according to General Mark Milley, the highest military official in the US.