STUTTGART, Germany — The U.S. military said a Russian fighter jet on Tuesday struck the propeller of a U.S. drone over the Black Sea, causing U.S. forces to bring it down in international waters.
The U.S. European Command said in a statement that two Russian Su-27 fighter jets “conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept” of a U.S. MQ-9 drone that was operating within international airspace over the Black Sea.
It said one of the Russian fighters “struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters,” adding that several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in “a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner.”
“This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional,” it added.
The incident comes amid soaring Russian-U.S. tensions over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
The incident happened the same day a Russian missile struck an apartment building in the center of Kramatorsk, killing at least one person and wounding nine others in one of Ukraine’s major city strongholds in its eastern Donetsk region as it fights against Moscow’s invasion, officials said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video showing gaping holes in the façade of the low-rise building that bore the brunt of the strike.