Russia will try to recover and study the remains of the US MQ-9 drone that crashed in the Black Sea after being harassed by Russian fighter jets.
Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told Rossiya-1 TV on Wednesday that he was not sure the drone could be pulled out of the water.
“I hope, of course, success,” he said. “The Americans keep saying they are not taking part in the hostilities. This is yet another confirmation that they are directly involved in these events, in the war.”
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon briefing that the drone sank in water 4,000 to 5,000 feet deep, making it very difficult to recover.
“It probably broke. There probably isn’t much to recover, frankly,” Milley said. I’m pretty sure everything that had value is worthless now.
Two Russian SU-27 fighters intercepted the drone on Tuesday, dumped fuel on it, flew in front of it and demonstrated a “lack of proficiency,” according to a US European Command statement. One of the fighters severed the drone’s propeller. , forcing US operators to shoot it down in international waters, US officials said.
The Russian Defense Ministry said its fighter jets were trying to identify the “intruder” when the drone’s abrupt maneuvers caused it to crash.
FIGHTER PLANE IMPACTS DRONE:Russian fighter jet collides with US Air Force drone over Black Sea
►Polish intelligence services said they had detained six people and broke up a spy network working for Russia, reported Radio RMF in Warsaw. A security alert was issued for railways and national infrastructure.
►The UK Ministry of Defense says British and German air force fighter jets scrambled to intercept a Russian plane flying near Estonian airspace. The Russian plane did not enter the airspace of Estonia, a NATO member.
►Sweden will supply Ukraine with 10 Leopard tanks and Spain has increased its commitment from six to 10.
►The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, replaced the governors of the Lugansk, Odesa and Khmelnytskyi provinces without giving any reason. Volodymyr Fesenko, an analyst at the Penta Kyiv center, said the layoffs “are associated with a low level of labor efficiency or criticism of abuses.”
►Ukrainian 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade shot down a Russian Su-24 supersonic tactical bomber near Bakhmut in Donetsk province, brigade spokeswoman Iryna Rybakova said on Wednesday.
POLAND SUPPORTS FIGHTER JETS FOR UKRAINE:Poland ready to provide MiG-29 to Ukraine in 4-6 weeks. live updates
Russia ‘running out of capacity and out of friends’, says Lloyd Austin
The two top US defense leaders say Tuesday’s interception and downing of a US surveillance drone is part of a recent pattern of aggressive behavior by Russia. They did not state a reason, but the Kremlin has made no secret of its irritation with the United States for backing Ukraine in the war.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made it clear that support will continue when he and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to reporters after meeting with member nations of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on Wednesday. .
“Russia hopes to crush Ukraine in a war of attrition, but Ukraine has been supplied by more than 40 countries,” Austin said. “In the meantime, Russia has had to rely on Iran and North Korea, and has had to use equipment dating back to World War II. So Russia is running out of capacity and out of friends.”
Milley noted that nine countries have pledged to send more than 150 Leopard tanks to Ukraine, which could become critical weapons in an expected spring offensive aimed at retaking some of the territory Russia has illegally annexed.
Austin said the United States and its allies are in the process of providing Ukrainian forces with the ability to “change the dynamics on the battlefield,” explaining why it is so important to continue helping their cause.
“Ukraine matters,” Austin said. “It doesn’t just matter to Ukraine or the United States, it matters to the world. It is about the rules-based international order. It’s about the ability of a country to wake up one day and change its neighbor’s borders and annex its neighbor’s sovereign territory.”
Austin and his Russian counterpart talk, offering differing views on the incident
Austin said he spoke with his counterpart, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, on Wednesday, their first conversation in five months. Based on his later comments, it was hard to spot much in common between them.
Austin criticized Russia for shooting down a US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone a day earlier over the Black Sea, vowing that such reconnaissance flights would continue. Austin also qualified the actions of the warplane pilots that forced the crash. “dangerous, reckless and unprofessional”.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in its report on the call that Shoigu said the United States had caused the incident by ignoring flight restrictions the Kremlin had imposed due to its military conflict in Ukraine. Shoigu also complained about “the intensification of intelligence activities” on Russia and warned that it “will respond in the same way to all provocations.”
The Pentagon shares the intelligence it collects with Ukrainian forces. Russia operates warships in the Black Sea and fires missiles from them, so the sides are in clearly adversarial positions. Tuesday’s meeting was the first physical clash between Russia and the United States since the start of the war in Ukraine, raising tensions and escalating concerns.
The Kremlin has denied that one of its warplanes hit the drone, but Milley said the United States has “absolute evidence.” She added that while it’s unclear if that was intentional, the pilot’s aggressive behavior definitely was.
Ukraine gains ground in $3 billion court battle with Russia
Ukraine may go to court to avoid paying back $3 billion in loans it said it took under pressure from Russia in 2013, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday. The court rejected an offer by a British company acting on Russia’s behalf to order Ukraine to repay the loans without facing trial. Ukraine said it borrowed the money while facing the threat of military force and enormous illegal economic and political pressure shortly before Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.
“Today Ukraine secured another decisive victory against the aggressor,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted. “Ukraine’s defense based on Russia’s threats of aggression will have a full public trial. Justice will be ours.”
Poland says several nations are ready to help provide fighter jets to Ukraine
Poland has received “clear statements” from several countries willing to supply Ukraine with MiG-29 fighter jets, Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller said on Wednesday. Bloomberg and the Russian state agency rate The news agency, reporting a news conference in Warsaw, said Muller did not name specific countries.
“We will announce the details in due course. These decisions are being taken by a group of various countries,” he said. “Although we have clear statements about which countries they will be, we have agreed that they will announce their decisions in accordance with their procedures.”
On Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Warsaw could transfer a “limited number” of Soviet-era jets to Ukraine in four to six weeks if a coalition of allies could agree on terms. Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad has expressed his support for a joint MiG-29 delivery with Poland. President Joe Biden has refused to provide fighter jets amid concerns it would expand the war.
Russian ambassador dismisses US concerns over drone incident
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov, summoned by the State Department after the drone incident on Tuesday, said he had a 30-minute conversation with Under Secretary of State Karen Donfried. She said they discussed the drone about half the time and Russian concerns with US activities the other half. Antonov told Rossiya-1 TV that his country “will not allow anyone to enter its waters.”
Contributing: The Associated Press