Russia-Ukraine live news: US says Russian jets caused drone crash

A United States MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) is seen here at testing range in Nevada, the US, in 2020 [File: William Rosado/US Air Force /AFP]
  • Washington said a Russian fighter plane caused a US spy drone to crash into the Black Sea on Tuesday, marking the first direct encounter between US and Russian forces since Moscow invaded Ukraine more than a year ago.
  • Russia said the US drone intruded in an area declared off-limits and that fighter jets scrambled to intercept the drone but did not cause it to crash.

Australia defence minister says Russia not playing by ‘rules’, must explain US drone crash

Australia’s defence minister accused Russia of “not playing by the rules” after a US military drone crashed into the Black Sea following Russian air force intervention.

“What’s clear here is that Russia has not acted in a professional way and that has resulted in the downing of this drone,” Defence minister and current acting Australian prime minister Richard Marles told a news conference.

“Russia has much explaining to do,” he said.

The US military said a Russian fighter plane clipped the Reaper spy drone’s propeller and made it crash into the Black Sea on Tuesday.

Russia’s defence ministry denied that its aircraft had come into contact with drone, blaming the crash instead on the drone’s “sharp manoeuvring”.

Two Russian fighter jets intercepted the drone near the Crimea peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles speaks to the media in 2022 [File: Caroline Chia/Reuters]

UK defence secretary calls on Russia to respect international airspace

The United Kingdom’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has urged Moscow to respect international airspace after the US military drone crashed into the Black Sea following an intercept by Russian fighter jets.

“The key here is that all parties respect international air space and we urge the Russians to do so,” Wallace told the Reuters news agency during a visit to Tokyo.

“The Americans have said they think it is unprofessional,” he added.


Russian ambassador says US drones gathering intelligence for Kyiv

Russian ambassador Anatoly Antonov said the downed US drone was flying with its transponders – which allows identification of an aircraft – switched off and was moving “deliberately and provocatively towards” Russian territory.

“The unacceptable actions of the United States military in the close proximity to our borders are cause for concern. We are well aware of the missions such reconnaissance and strike drones are used for,” the ambassador to the US said on his Telegram channel on Wednesday.

US drone flights in the region gather intelligence “which is later used by the Kiev regime to attack our armed forces and territory”, he said.

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