The Pentagon released a video footage of a Russian Su-27 fighter jet approaching and pouring fuel on a U.S. Air Force surveillance drone over the Black Sea, with the aim of blinding its optical instruments and driving it out of the area. The drone’s propeller was damaged by either the same jet or another Russian fighter that had been shadowing the MQ-9, prompting the U.S. military to ditch the MQ-9 Reaper in the sea. Russia denied striking the drone and claimed that the drone fragments were a result of its sharp maneuver over the sea. The incident marked the first time since the Cold War that a U.S. aircraft went down during such a confrontation, causing concerns that it could escalate tension between the U.S. and Russia. Top U.S. and Russian defense and military leaders spoke about the destruction of the drone, with the Russian Defense Ministry accusing the U.S. of provoking the incident by ignoring flight restrictions imposed by the Kremlin.

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