Mar 15, 2023 - World

Russia will attempt to recover debris from downed U.S. drone

An MQ-9 Reaper drone with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) awaits a mission

An MQ-9 Reaper drone awaits a mission in November 2022 at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

A top Russian official said Wednesday the country will attempt to recover the remains of the U.S. drone that was downed over the Black Sea after an encounter with Russian fighter jets, according to state news agency TASS.

Driving the news: The U.S. military said it was forced to bring down an MQ-9 Reaper drone on Tuesday after a Russian Su-27 jet struck its propeller.

  • "I don't know if we'll be able to get it or not, but it has to be done. And we will definitely do it," Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia's security council, said on Russian TV, TASS reported.
  • “I hope, of course, for success,” he added.

State of play: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley confirmed at a press briefing later Wednesday that they had both spoken to their Russian counterparts earlier that day.

  • Milley said that the U.S. knew where the drone had landed in the Black Sea and that the remains had likely broken apart and sunk, but that they had taken measures to prevent the loss of sensitive intelligence.
  • "There's probably not much to recover, frankly," he added.

The big picture: The U.S. said the incident was part of a "pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with U.S. and Allied aircraft over international airspace."

  • Kirby told "CNN This Morning" Wednesday that the drone had not yet been recovered and may never be recovered.
  • "We did the best we could to minimize any intelligence value that might come from somebody else getting their hands on that drone," Kirby noted.
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