U.S. officials have released video that shows a Russian Su-27 fighter jet colliding with the propeller of a U.S. MQ-9 reaper drone.
The video was released by the U.S. military’s European Command on Thursday, allowing the public to view the widely-reported aerial incident.
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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin summarized the incident Wednesday in a press conference, 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.”
Russia has previously denied that the aircraft touched one another, and accused the U.S. of unnecessarily escalating the issue.
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A race between the U.S. and Russia is underway to secure the debris of the drone from the Black Sea.
Russian officials announced Wednesday that operations were underway to collect the debris of the downed U.S. drone — the country has denied responsibility for the incident.
“The aircraft is U.S. property,” a U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News. “We take the recovery very seriously but will not get into details right now.”
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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.”
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Liz Friden contributed to this report.
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