The Ukrainian conflict is dragging on and with each passing day new red lines are being crossed. As the involvement of Western allies of Kiev in the war, Russia also resorts to direct provocations against those who the Kremlin already considered as participants “by delegation” in the contest.
The shooting down of an American surveillance drone intercepted by a patrol of Russian fighters over the Black Sea it marks a new peak of tension between Russia and the West, which, for the moment, bilateral diplomacy has been able to temper. However, this mishap has reminded the United States of the growing participation of their country in a war that is rejected by a good number of their politicians.
The Administration of Joe Biden He has protested the incident, but has avoided describing it as an act of war or even an “illegal” action, since the area in which it occurred is adjacent to a war theater and the US drone was not exactly collecting meteorological information. The intelligence gathered by this type of allied drones goes directly to the headquarters of the Ukrainian forces, with military information not only from the territory at war but from Russia itself.
According to American information, two Russian Su-27 fighters intercepted an American drone MQ-9 Reapers over the Black Sea. The drone plunged into the sea after impact, in international waters. The United States European Command (USEUCOM, for its acronym in English) indicated that the fighters poured fuel on the drone and flew in front of the device. According to that information, one of the Russian planes hit a propeller of the MQ-9, who lost control. It was then that US forces had to shoot down the drone in international waters, according to the USEUCOM.
The fighter jets did not touch the drone, according to Russia
Instead, according to Ministry of Defence Russian, the combat planes did not get to touch the drone, which lost control after a series of abrupt maneuvers and hit the sea surface. The Russians indicated that the drone was close to Crimea and was heading to territories illegally annexed by Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
The incident was addressed this Wednesday by the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, in a phone call made by the US official. Austin told reporters that his country “will continue to fly and operate where international law allows.”
White House spokesman John Kirby, called the Russian action “unsafe” and “unprofessional”. Washington underlined the “clumsiness” with which Russian aviation had handled the event, in a protest very similar to the one made recently by Beijing when a US fighter shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon over US territorial waters and after having traveled and photographed half the country.
It is the first collision between two Russian and US aircraft in this war
The launch of the American drone, the first “crash” between US aircraft and Russia since the war began a little over a year ago, it has highlighted the serious risk that this conflict poses every day. Russia is directly responsible for the conflict, after its unjustified invasion of Ukraine, but the US and its allies in NATO and the European Union are increasingly implicated with weapons, money and the provision of key intelligence on the Russian positions to the Ukrainian army.
As Kirby explained, similar incidents have occurred before, but harassment leading to the downing of a US ship has never occurred before. The report of USEUCOM stressed in this regard that “there is a pattern of dangerous actions” that Russian pilots follow when they approach US aircraft in the area of the Black Sea and in other areas of international airspace.
According to Kirby, the United States has already taken the necessary steps to prevent the remains of the drone from falling into the wrong hands. In this regard, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushevhas not had any qualms about ensuring that the Russian naval forces will try to recover the remains of the downed drone, a coveted prize for the Russian Navy, not only because of the intelligence data that the device’s sensors may have recorded, but above all because of technology that can be analyzed by your military engineers.
This Reaper drone model has a range of 1,770 kilometers and can reach 15,000 meters high. In addition to his espionage duties, he can be armed with Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs.
For Russia, the drone proves direct US involvement
Patrushev has described the drone incident as a “hostile” action and further proof that the US is directly involved in the fighting between Russia and Ukraine. This hawk of the kremlin He has warned against possible new “provocations” by the United States and stressed that his country will continue to be committed to defending its independence and sovereignty.
Instead, the Ukrainian government has accused Russia of provoking this incident with the aim of “expanding the conflict” and “raising the stakes” between the parties involved in this crisis, as highlighted by the secretary of the Defense and Security Council. National of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov.
“This is my biggest concern, both there and in the Pacific: that a Russian or Chinese pilot, or perhaps the captain of a ship gets too close, doesn’t realize where they are and causes a crash,” said the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General david berger.
Drone reinforces US critics of war
The incident of the drone intercepted by the Russian air patrol occurs at a delicate moment in US politics, when doubts are growing about the multi-million dollar aid that Washington is lending to Ukraine in their resistance against the Russian invasion.
Florida Governor and Republican politician, Ron DeSantishad sparked controversy this week by saying that while the United States has many vital national interests, “getting further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.”
DeSantis, who could run for the 2024 US presidential election, has been criticized by other members of his own party for equating the ukrainian war with a dispute between countries with common borders.
DeSantis has rejected the “blank check” with which the United States is financing the war in Ukraine
“We cannot prioritize intervening in an escalating foreign war ahead of defending our own country, especially when tens of thousands of Americans die each year from narcotics smuggled across our open border,” and when our stockpiles of weapons critical to our own security are rapidly being depleted,” he said. DeSantis in reference to US military assistance to Ukraine.
DeSantis has rejected the “blank check” with which the United States is financing the war in Ukraine, “without defined objectives or accountability”, and “diverting attention from the most pressing challenges” of USA.
The governor of Florida thus aligns himself with the position on the war in Ukraine of the former US president donald trump, who appears the strongest figure in the primaries that the Republican Party holds in 2024 to choose its representative in the presidential elections of that same year. Both leaders lead the polls in their party on popular support for those primaries.
On the contrary, other candidates who will take part in that race to designate the republican candidate, such as the former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, or the former vice president Mike Pence, who could also run in the primaries, have shown their unequivocal support for the Ukrainian cause and have criticized the position of Trump and those other Republicans who reject the enormous economic effort that their country is making in favor of Ukraine and against Russia. .
In the opinion of the former president Trumpthe war of Ukraine “It is much more important for Europe than for the United States” and therefore it should contribute at least as much money as the amount that Washington has given, estimated at more than 30,000 million euros in military assistance since the conflict began.