WORLD – USA
The Russian military may have been able to retrieve some of the wreckage of a US MQ-9 Reaper drone that went down in the Black Sea after being shot down by a Russian aircraft, ABC News reported Thursday, 16 March, citing an anonymous US official.
Two of the broadcaster’s sources confirmed that Russian ships had been spotted in the vicinity of the drone’s downing on 15 March. What specific parts of the drone the Russians may have taken possession of, the channel did not specify.
Pentagon doubts possibility of debris removal
On 15 March, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin held a telephone conversation with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu over the incident the previous day. At a press conference following the call, he said that the Pentagon was working on declassifying images of the drone interception by Russian Su-27 fighter jets.
At the same time, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, who spoke to reporters with Austin, said that the interception was deliberate, but whether the collision was deliberate remains to be seen. He had earlier told ABC that the collision so far was more like “reckless behaviour on the part of the Russian pilot”.
Millie also questioned the Russian military’s ability to recover the drone wreckage from the bottom of the Black Sea. According to him, the drone lies at a depth of about 1.2-1.5 kilometres and its lifting will be “very difficult”. He also assured that the US had already taken measures to protect against the loss of confidential intelligence information in case the Russian military was still able to lift the Reaper from the bottom of the sea.
The FSS stressed the importance of these fragments
For his part, Russian Federal Security Service director Nikolay Patrushev said the day before in an interview with the Russian TV channel Rossiya-1: “I don’t know if we can raise it or not, but it has to be done. And we will definitely work on it.”
Officially, the information that the Russians managed to retrieve the drone wreckage has not been confirmed.
Source: Deutsche Welle