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US says video of jet-drone encounter 'decimates the Russian lie'


The White House on Thursday said the release of video showing a Russian fighter jet dumping fuel on a U.S. drone before it went down over the Black Sea undercut Russia’s version of events.

John Kirby, a White House spokesperson on national security issues, told reporters on a virtual briefing that the U.S. may never know what the intent of the Russian pilot was, but that the incident was “intentional harassment” and “intentionally aggressive.”

“The video is pretty darn conclusive about what happened and it absolutely just decimates the Russian lie,” Kirby said.

The Pentagon earlier Thursday released a video clip showing a Russian fighter jet approaching a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone on Tuesday and releasing fuel as it passes. The fuel dump appeared to be intended to blind the drone and drive it out of the area, the Pentagon said.

U.S. officials have said a Russian fighter jet then struck the drone, damaging its propeller and forcing it to splash down in the Black Sea, though the video does not show the events before or after the fuel-dumping incident.

Russia has claimed its pilots didn’t strike the drone and that it went down after making a sharp maneuver.

Kirby said the footage released by the Pentagon “clearly demonstrated our narrative of what happened.” He said he was not aware of any planned communication between U.S. and Russian officials after the release of the video.

“It is not uncommon at all for us to release imagery of these intercepts,” Kirby said. “We’ve done it plenty of times before … to lay bare and to make clear to the rest of the world the manner in which the Russians have been just flat out lying, flat out lying, about their accounts.”

The U.S. has maintained that its drone was flying over international waters and in international airspace during Tuesday’s incident. Administration officials have been adamant that Russia’s actions will not deter the U.S. from continuing to fly surveillance missions in the area or from supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion.

Source: The Hill

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