WATCH: Russian Fighter Jet Damages US Drone

July 25, 2023

A Russian fighter jet shot flares at a U.S. drone over Syria this weekend, damaging the propellers of the device and escalating tensions between the two powers.

Newly released video shows the jet coming close to the U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone and firing flares at the propellers.

Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, the top U.S. Air Force commander in the area, said in a Tuesday statement that the drone was in the middle of a mission against the Islamic State.

"One of the Russian flares struck the U.S. MQ-9, severely damaging its propeller," Grynkewich said. "Fortunately, the MQ-9 crew was able to maintain flight and safely recover the aircraft to its home base."

Grynkewich said Russia's action hurts the U.S. objective of fighting ISIS in the area.

"The Russian fighter’s blatant disregard for flight safety detracts from our mission to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS," he said. "We call upon the Russian forces in Syria to put an immediate end to this reckless, unprovoked, and unprofessional behavior."

The event follows a similar March incident where a Russian fighter jet damaged the propeller of a U.S. drone and caused it to crash into the Black Sea. White House spokesman John Kirby called that incident "unsafe and unprofessional."

The incident comes after reports suggested China is selling military equipment, including helmets and bulletproof vests, to Russia.

Russian buyers have declared purchases of hundreds of thousands of military items made by Chinese company Shanghai H Win, which produces military-grade gear. Politico confirmed that the items on the declaration documents match those on the company's online catalog.

Published under: Russia