Russia gives state award to the pilots involved in US drone incident

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MOSCOW (London Post in collaboratio with TASS and AP) A Russian fighter pilot involved in an incident involving a US drone that led to a crash will receive a state award, the Defense Ministry said Friday. The move appears to signal Moscow’s intention to take a more aggressive stance against future US patrols.

The U.S. military said the Air Force’s MQ-12 in the Black Sea on Tuesday after two Russian fighter jets dumped fuel on a drone, one of which hit a propeller while flying in international airspace. 9 said he ran aground his Reaper. Moscow has denied that his country’s fighter plane hit the drone, claiming it went down during a sharp maneuver. It said the fighter was responding to a violation of a no-fly zone Russia imposed on an area near Crimea during the fighting in Ukraine. On Friday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu praised pilots for blocking drones from flying into areas Moscow has banned. The Pentagon said the ban was “consistent with international standards.”

Moscow, a day after the U.S. military released a declassified 42-second color video of him showing his Russian Su-27 fighter jet approaching the back of a U.S. drone and releasing fuel in flight. was announced. Optics to drive them out of the area.

The same jet chasing the MQ-9 or another of his Su-27s from Russia hit the drone’s propeller on his second approach, damaging the blade, according to the US military. Video excerpts do not show a collision, but propeller damage.

U.S. and Russian defense and military heads spoke Wednesday about the drone’s destruction, underscoring the seriousness of the event. The meeting between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov was the first since October.

The White House called on Russia to act “recklessly” but tried to avoid escalating tensions.U.S. officials cannot determine whether Russian pilots intentionally attacked U.S. drones He stressed that the lines of communication with Moscow remain open. Russian officials also stressed the need to maintain lines of communication, but condemned the U.S. action for its arrogant disregard for Moscow’s no-fly zone.

“This is a clear sign that Russia will continue to shoot down American drones,” wrote pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergey Markov in a comment on the award announcement. “This decision has strong support from Russian society, who want the government to step up its policies.”

Moscow, amid strong international condemnation, has repeatedly expressed concern over US intelligence activities near Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014. It accuses it of effectively interfering in the conflict by sharing information with Kiev.

Some Russian officials have accused the US surveillance flights of helping gather intelligence that allowed Ukraine to strike Russian targets.