The US says a Russian jet clipped a US drone over the Black Sea, forcing it to crash.
A US official told PBS the Russian pilot seemed out of control, calling their actions “amateur hour.”
Russia denied that its jet made physical contact with the drone. The US says it has video.
The Russian fighter jet that forced down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone on Tuesday was out of control and flying like it was “amateur hour,” a US official said.
The official, who watched video footage of the incident, told PBS correspondent Nick Schifrin that the pilot was out of control when moving flying towards the drone and tried to pull away from it.
The official said that “This was not something you would see a professional pilot do.”
Schifrin further described what the official told him on “PBS NewsHour,” saying “this was not a controlled tap. The Russian pilot was barreling toward the drone, out of control, tried to pull away from the from the drone, and that’s when the Russian jet actually hit the back of it.”
Schifrin said the official “called it amateur hour.”
The US says a Russian jet clipped the US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone when it was over the Black Sea, the strategic body of water south of Ukraine.
Per the US, the collision forced the drone to crash into the sea.
US European Command said two Russian Su-27 jets carried out an “unsafe and unprofessional intercept” of the US drone, which was in international airspace.
It said the two jets dumped fuel on and flew in front of the drone, and then one of them hit the drone’s propeller, which is at the rear of the aircraft.
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that the drone was “forced to go down.”
The drone was conducting routine operations, the US said.
Russia alleged that the drone was moving towards to its airspace. (Russia claims ownership of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and its airspace, which the US, Ukraine, and Western nations reject.)
Russia also denied that any contact was made between the jet and the drone, saying the drone crashed after “sharp maneuvering”.
Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said in a statement on Wednesday that Russia sees “this incident as a provocation” and that the drone “deliberately and provocatively was moving towards Russian territory with transponders turned off.”
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