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Russia Says Intercepted U.S. Drone Over Black Sea

Russian fighter jet flies close to a U.S. MQ-9 reaper drone over Syria on July 23, 2023. U.S. Air Force via AP/TASS

Russia said Saturday it scrambled an Su-30 fighter jet to "prevent a violation of the Russian state border" by a U.S. Reaper MQ-9 military drone over the Black Sea.

"As the Russian fighter approached, the foreign reconnaissance drone performed a U-turn away from the border," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The ministry said the drone belonged to the U.S. Air Force.

"The Russian aircraft returned safely to its airbase, there was no violation of the border," it added. 

Incidents involving Russian and Western aircraft have multiplied over the Black Sea and Baltic Sea in recent months, as Moscow pursues its offensive in Ukraine.

Tensions grew between Moscow and Washington when another U.S. Reaper drone crashed after colliding with a Russian fighter jet over the Black Sea in mid-March. 

Moscow said in May it had intercepted four U.S. strategic bombers above the Baltic Sea in two separate incidents in the space of one week.

Russia also said it has intercepted French, German, Polish and British aircraft.

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