By Daniel R. DePetris, fellow at Defense Priorities
For the first time since Russia's war in Ukraine began over a year ago, U.S. and Russian military forces came into direct contact on Tuesday, when two Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted and damaged an unmanned U.S. MQ-9 surveillance drone over the Black Sea.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, called the crash an unprofessional, dangerous maneuver in international airspace. The Biden administration immediately summoned Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov to the State Department to register its strong condemnation. The Pentagon, meanwhile, released a 43-second clip of the incident on Thursday morning to back up its version of events; the footage showed that Russian pilots not only poured fuel over the U.S. surveillance aircraft, but rammed into its propeller, causing U.S. operators to bring the drone down.