March 29, 2023

Russia says it will respond “proportionately” to US “provocations”. Pentagon says it flies as far as ‘international law allows’

Russia’s defense ministry said it would respond “proportionally” to future “provocations” from the United States, as tensions between the two countries escalated after a US drone crashed in the Black Sea.

“Russia is not interested in further escalation of the situation, but will continue to respond proportionately to all provocations,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said US jets would fly “wherever international law allows” and warned Russia to be careful after one of its fighter jets reportedly shot down a US surveillance drone.

Austin made his statement shortly after speaking with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, by phone. The topic of discussion focused on Tuesday’s incident in the Black Sea, when two Russian fighter jets intercepted a US surveillance drone and destroyed its propeller, causing the drone to crash.

The United States called the Russian stance “reckless” and “unprofessional”, while Moscow denied responsibility and accused Washington of conducting “hostile” flights in the region.

“The United States will continue to fly and operate as long as international law allows,” Austin told reporters after speaking with Shoigu. “Russia is responsible for operating its military fighter jets in a safe and professional manner,” he added.

The chief of staff of the United States, General Mark Milley, said that the Pentagon is analyzing the video of the cameras equipped with this type of drones to see exactly what happened.

“Whether it was intentional or not? I still don’t know,” he told reporters. “We know that the interception by the fighters was intentional. We also know that the aggressive behavior was intentional, unprofessional and very unsafe.” “But the actual contact of the Russian fighter … the physical contact, we’re still not sure.”

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, direct contact between top defense officials in both countries has been extremely rare.

“We take any escalation very seriously and that’s why we think it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. I think it’s really important that we can talk to each other. And I think that will help avoid miscalculations in the future,” he concluded. the chief of the general staff of the united states.

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