Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Celeste Wallander, attend a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at the Pentagon in Washington. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP) 

CNN: Austin says US will continue to fly drones over Black Sea and condemns Russian downing as ‘aggressive’ 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin vowed on Wednesday that US aircraft will continue to “fly and to operate wherever international law allows,” one day after Russian aircraft hit a US drone over the Black Sea, forcing it to be brought down in international waters. 

“This hazardous episode is part of a pattern of aggressive, and risky, and unsafe actions in international airspace,” Austin said at the beginning of a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. 

“So make no mistake, the United States will continue to fly and to operate wherever international law allows. And it is incumbent upon Russia to operate as military aircraft in a safe and professional manner.” 

Read more …. 

WNU Editor: The harsh rhetoric is increasing between Washington and Moscow …. US, Russia ratchet up their rhetoric over downing of drone (Defense News/AP). I guess this discussion did not go well …. Defense Secretary Austin speaks to Russian counterpart about US drone incident (ABC News).