Lloyd Austin and Mark Milley called their Russian counterparts for the first time in months
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin contacted his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu on Wednesday for the first time in months to discuss the incident in which a US spy drone crashed in the waters of the Black Sea off the Crimea.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Shoigu told Austin that the incident was caused by the Americans violating the airspace restriction declared by Russia, with all appropriate international notifications in place. Shoigu called US drone flights off the Russian coast “provocative in nature” and risked an escalation of tensions in the Black Sea.
If Russia does not want such a development, it “continue to respond proportionally to all provocations”, Shoigu said. He added that the two nuclear powers “must act as responsibly as possible”, which includes keeping an open military channel to discuss any crisis.
Speaking at a Pentagon press briefing, Austin confirmed he made the call and said it was “important that the great powers are models of transparency and communication.” However, he insisted that the United States “continue to fly and operate wherever international law permits.”
The last time Shoigu and Austin spoke was in October 2022, according to AP. Senior military officials also had a phone call about it, with US General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking to his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov.
On Tuesday, the United States European Command claims that two Russian Su-27 jet planes carried out a “a dangerous and unprofessional interception” an MQ-9 Reaper drone, which was carrying out an intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) mission in international waters over the Black Sea. According to the US military, one of the planes hit the drone’s propeller, forcing the operators to abandon the UAV in the water.
THE Russian Ministry of Defense, however, said that at no time did any of the interceptors make contact with the drone or use its on-board weapons. The drone stalled and crashed after performing a sudden maneuver, Moscow said.
Russian Ambassador to American Anatolia Antonov said he told the State Department that American drones had no business being so close to the Russian border. The drone was reportedly just 60 kilometers off the coast of Crimea when it crashed.
The United States has flown drones and other surveillance aircraft near the Russian border for more than a year, providing intelligence and targeting information to the Ukrainian government – as well as weapons, ammunition and weapons. money – while insisting that he is not a party to the conflict. Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, said Wednesday that the drone incident was “Another Confirmation” the United States was directly involved.