18:21 ET, March 14, 2023
Russian ambassador says US planes don’t have to be near Russian border
From CNN’s Josh Pennington and Radina Gigova
Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, said on Tuesday that Russia does not want to “confrontation” with the US, but “as we see it, US planes don’t have to be anywhere near the Russian border”.
Talking to reporters afterwards was summoned to the State Department after an incident that caused the shooting down of a US Reaper drone over the Black SeaAntonov asked: “Can you imagine if such a UAV suddenly appeared near New York or San Francisco?”
“Can you imagine the reaction of the American press, the Pentagon, to this drone? What kind of drone was it? Think about this before you summon me to the State Department. It is a multipurpose (drone), with attack capabilities of up to a 1700 kg of explosive charge,” he said. “Tell me, how would any Ministry of Defense of any country react to the threat of such a danger appearing along its borders?”
Antonov said he wanted to point out “how professional the Russian pilots were in their actions. No contact was made, nor did our fighter jets use any weapons.”
“I think it is better that we in the State Department discuss ways of cooperation and mutual action, but unfortunately, my communication with the State Department lately has only been to address their protests about the actions of the Russian Federation,” he said.
“The Russian Federation is not interested in confrontation. The Russian side is interested in pragmatic relations with the US in the interests of both the Russian and American people.”
Pentagon spokesman Brig. General Patrick Ryder added on Tuesday that the Russian plane flew “in the vicinity” of the drone for 30 to 40 minutes before crashing just after 7 a.m. Central European Time.