A new video has emerged that shows the moment a Russian fighter jet collided with a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone and downed the American aircraft in international waters.
The video was released by the U.S. military’s European Command on Thursday.
The footage has emerged amid a race to secure the downed American aircraft when it was downed in the Black Sea.
Russian ships are already at the MQ-9 drone crash site, a U.S. defense official told Fox News Thursday morning.
Russia sent ships to search the debris field almost immediately following the crash.
“They wasted no time,” the official said.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley said that the Pentagon is not confident that Russia will be able to obtain any of the drone debris.
This part of the Black Sea is 4,000-5,000 feet deep, Milley said in a Wednesday Pentagon press briefing alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Milley said it has likely sunk to some “significant depths” already.
The U.S. military has no ships in the Black Sea.
When asked about U.S. recovery efforts, Milley said the U.S. has allies and partners in the region.
However, he told reporters later in the press conference to not look too much into that.
During the Wednesday press conference, Austin summarized the incident by saying, “Two Russian jets dumped fuel on an unmanned U.S. MQ-9 aircraft conducting routine operations in international airspace.
“And one Russian jet intercepted and hit our MQ-9 aircraft, resulting in a crash.”
Austin sharply criticized the Russian military for its actions, stating that the Black Sea incident was “a part of a pattern of aggressive and risky and unsafe actions by Russian pilots in international airspace.”
Russia has previously denied that the aircraft touched one another, and accused the U.S. of unnecessarily escalating the issue.
“We assume that the United States will refrain from further speculation in the media and stop flights near Russian borders,” said Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov on Wednesday.
However, the vide of the incident does appear to show the Russian jet strike the American drone.
JUST IN – U.S. releases a video showing the collision of the Russian fighter jet with the MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea.pic.twitter.com/MHuGIUkxyL
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) March 16, 2023
Two U.S. military fighter pilots have reportedly disputed the idea that Russian jets could have dumped fuel on the drone.
The pilots told Fox that any fuel the jet pilots could have been intending to dump would “vaporize instantly” when it hit the air.
It would not have affected the drone or the flight.
Ukrainian officials have claimed the alleged incident is Russia’s attempt to escalate U.S. involvement in the war.
“The incident with the American MQ-9 Reaper UAV — provoked by Russia over the Black Sea — is Putin’s way of signaling his readiness to expand the conflict to involve other parties,” said National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov.
“The purpose of this all-in tactic is to always be raising the stakes.”