US Says Video Shows Russia Su-27 Jet Taking Down Reaper Drone

The US released video of a Russian fighter jet forcing down a US Reaper drone over the Black Sea.

The video, shared by US European Command on Thursday, shows footage from the US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone.

US European Command said Russia did an “unsafe/unprofessional intercept” of the drone. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has described Russia’s actions as “reckless.”

You can watch the video here:


This is what the US European Command says the video shows:

00:00: [Start of video] A Russian Su-27 approaches to the rear of the U.S. Air Force MQ-9. 

00:05: A Russian Su-27 begins to release fuel as it passes. 00:09 A Russian Su-27 passes over the U.S. Air Force MQ-9 while releasing fuel. As the Su-27 passes over the top of the MQ-9, it also disrupts the video transmission. 

00:11: The propeller of the U.S. Air Force MQ-9 can be seen and remains undamaged. 

00:22: A Russian Su-27 begins a second approach toward the MQ-9. 00:27: A Russian Su-27 begins to release fuel on the approach toward the MQ-9. The Su-27 proceeds to pass even closer. 

00:29: A Russian Su-27 collides with the MQ-9 and the MQ-9’s camera feed is lost for approximately 60 seconds. 

00:39: The MQ-9’s camera feed has returned to working order. At this time the propeller can be seen again and one of the props can be seen damaged. 

The video then ends, and does not show the drone falling into the sea.

The US said on Tuesday that a Russian jet clipped the US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone when it was over the Black Sea, the strategic body of water south of Ukraine.

Rear view from a US MQ-9 Reaper drone after a close pass by a Russian Su-27 fighter jet.

A view of the rear of a US MQ-9 Reaper drone after a close pass by a Russian Su-27 fighter jet, in footage released by the US military. The propeller, on the rear of the drone, is at this point intact.

US European Command

The Pentagon said that the US had to bring down the drone as the incident made it “unflyable.”

US European Command said two Russian Su-27 jets carried out an “unsafe and unprofessional intercept” of the US drone, when it was in international airspace.

It said the two jets dumped fuel on and flew in front of the drone, and then one of them hit the drone’s propeller, which is at the rear of the aircraft.

The drone was conducting routine operations, the US said.

Russia denies that there was any contact between the jet and the drone, saying the drone crashed after “sharp maneuvering.”

Rear view from a US MQ-9 Reaper drone, appearing to show damage to its propeller.

A view of the rear of a US MQ-9 Reaper drone after the US military says a Russian Su-27 fighter jet collided with it. One of the propeller blades appears to be damaged.

US European Command

Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said in a statement on Wednesday that Russia sees “this incident as a provocation” and that the drone “deliberately and provocatively was moving towards Russian territory with transponders turned off.”

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