Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov discussed the incident during a meeting at the State Department with US Under Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried. Antonov was summoned to the US department immediately after the official announcement of the collision of the Su-27 with a drone, the meeting itself took place a few hours later. Antonov appointed the conversation was “constructive”, although he stressed that differences remain between the parties in the interpretation of the incident. Washington also expressed satisfaction that the parties are keeping diplomatic channels open, which allows “direct interaction and a clear expression of their concerns”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reported on the incident, said in the afternoon of March 15 his press secretary Dmitry Peskov. “Whether they reported it is odd to say the least. How do you imagine that the head of state and the supreme commander were not informed of the incident? Well, of course, that’s not possible. Of course they reported,” he said. Peskov also noted that there had been no top-level contact in relation to the incident. Asked directly to comment on the incident, he said the Russian Defense Ministry statement issued the day before was “comprehensive”, noting separately that there had been “physical contact” between the plane and the drone.
The incident will not lead to a direct confrontation between Russia and the United States – So converge according to military experts. American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in their daily summary Remarksthat the Presidents of the United States and Russia are free to choose their response to such incidents and that such situations do not escalate automatically. US President Joe Biden has repeatedly stressed that he does not intend to enter into direct conflict with Russia, and Moscow, in turn, has demonstrated its reluctance to fight NATO. ISW also writes that “scare tactics” against US and allied aircraft and ships have been used by the Russian military for many years – and it has never led to direct conflict.
Ukrainian leaders called the incident a conscious attempt by Russia to escalate the conflict. Aleksey Danilko, spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council, called the incident “a signal from Putin that he is ready to expand the conflict zone” and involve third parties. “The all-in-one tactic constantly raises rates in the face of a strategic loss in the hope that circumstances will change,” writing Danilko on Twitter.
What happened to the wreckage of the drone is still unclear. Almost immediately after the incident, reports indicated that Russian divers may have recovered them, but this information did not receive confirmation. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby later said Washington had no intention of letting the wreckage of the drone fall into the wrong hands. The U.S. government “has taken steps to protect our property, especially this drone,” Kirby said, but didn’t specify exactly what steps he was talking about. Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, in turn, declaredthat Russia will try to lift the wreckage from below.