Russia wants to retrieve wreckage of downed US drone
Russian Su-27 aircraft (Photo:REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo)
Moscow wants to get its hands on the remains of a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone that crashed into the Black Sea after being hit by a Russian warplane, Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev said on state Russia-1 TV channel on March 15.
“I don't know whether we'll be able to retrieve it or not, but it has to be done. And we will certainly work on it. I hope, of course, for success,” Russia’s TASS reported Patrushev as saying.
Meanwhile, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said that it might not be possible for the United States to recover the wreckage of the MQ-9 drone – a sophisticated surveillance and attack UAV.
"I'm not sure that we're going to be able to recover it,” he told CNN.
“I mean, where it fell in the Black Sea, (is) very, very deep water. We're still assessing whether there can be any recovery effort mounted. There may not be.”
The U.S. has prevented others from "getting their hands on the drone" to minimize any intelligence data leaks, said Kirby.
The U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone fell in international waters of the Black Sea after being hit by a Russian Su-27 fighter jet on March 14.
The Russian Ministry of Defense denies that the MQ-9 was intercepted. They claimed the drone crashed due to “sharp maneuvering,” after which it went into an uncontrolled dive and crashed into the sea.
The United States summoned the Russian ambassador following the incident.
The Pentagon said the Su-27 jet was likely damaged by its attack on the drone. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called Russia's actions “reckless,” “unprofessional,” and “unsafe.”
U.S. media reported last year that the U.S. Air Force wanted to sell some of its older Reaper drones to Ukraine, for use as strike UAVs, but the Pentagon nixed the idea over fears that the drones might be shot down and fall into the hands of Russia.
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