Headline RoundupMarch 16th, 2023

Video Shows Moment Russian Jet Struck US Drone Over Black Sea

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The U.S. military released footage of a Russian fighter jet colliding with a U.S. surveillance drone over the Black Sea.

The Details: Video shows two Russian fighter jets intercepting the MQ-9 Reaper drone. One jet appears to dump fuel on the drone and fly just over it, and the second jet also dumps fuel on the drone before hitting it. The collision rendered the drone "unflyable and uncontrollable," and its remote pilot guided it into the Black Sea, where it sank, according to the Pentagon. Russian ships are reportedly at the crash site searching for debris. The U.S. military has no ships in the Black Sea.

Blame Game: Russia accused the drone of encroaching on its border, and had previously denied that jets made contact with it. The U.S. says the drone was conducting surveillance in international airspace, and accused Russia's military of recklessness. 

For Context: The Pentagon said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by phone with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu on Wednesday. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said while Russia hopes to recover the drone, it crashed in 4,000-5,000 feet of water, and recovery may be impossible. As of 2021, the Air Force lists the unit cost of an MQ-9 Reaper drone at $56.5 million. 

How the Media Covered It: Sources across the spectrum covered the footage as their top story Thursday morning. 

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