The Russian military may have recovered the wreckage of a US MQ-9 Reaper drone that crashed in the Black Sea on March 14, ABC News reported, citing an unnamed US official. At least two other sources from the TV company confirmed that already on March 15, Russian ships were sighted in the area where the drone crashed.
What parts of the UAV the Russian army managed to get from below, the TV company does not specify. BBC Russian Service writingthat an audio recording appeared on Russian pro-military telegram channels, in which you can hear how some people negotiate in Russian to lift the wreckage of a fallen drone. According to the file, the Russians managed to lift the “internal combustion engine casing”.
According to the US military, the drone is more than a kilometer deep, which makes any debris collection operation difficult. However, Russia’s intention to recover the wreckage sooner declared Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev. “I don’t know if we can get it or not, but <...> we have to do it, and we certainly will,” he said.
In turn, the Pentagon spokesman, General Patrick Ryder informed journalists that, according to him, the Russian side has not yet been able to recover the remains of the drone.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley saidthat the US military took all necessary steps to remove the software from the drone so that the Russians could not obtain any classified information: “We are pretty sure that everything that was of value there is no longer of value,” Milley said.
CNN Sources claimsthat all “sensitive data” has been remotely deleted from the drone.
The American MQ-9 Reaper reconnaissance drone fell in the Black Sea on the morning of March 14. According to the American version, the drone crashed after colliding with a Russian Su-27 fighter jet over neutral waters. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the drone crash, but did not report a collision.
The US State Department believes that the collision of a Russian plane with an American drone probably happened unintentionally due to the incompetence of Russian pilots.