Last Updated on March 16, 2023


Video footage has been released documenting what the Biden Administration first claimed was a mid-air “collision” between a Russian jet and an American Reaper drone above the Black Sea. However, it has turned out to be an instance of the Russian jet dropping fuel on the American drone, prompting it to crash.

The American drone came into contact with the Russian SU-27 jet over the Black Sea, which lies between Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, and the Balkan States. Russia has called America’s drone piloting over the Black Sea, an open provocation, and an overstepping of long-recognized international boundaries and spheres of influence.

Initially, the United States had claimed that the Russian jet deliberately collided with the American drone, causing it to crash, but video footage has now been released showing that the Russian jet actually dumped fuel on the drone, in an apparent act of mockery. It’s unclear if any physical collision actually took place, but the Biden Administration continues to insist that one did.

Russia has stated that it will attempt to retrieve the wreckage of the drone from the Black Sea, though Washington claims that no useful data will be able to be recovered should the drone be picked up.

As American arms and cash have been funneled into Ukraine, some have floated the idea of giving American Reaper drones to the nation’s armed forces. It’s unclear if those talks led to the Russian dumping of fuel on the drone, as an act of mockery.

Watch video footage of the Black Sea incident below:

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Drones have played an unprecedented role in the Russo-Ukrainian War, with most combat footage readily available to those in the West coming from drone vantage points. In many combat clips from the battlefields of Ukraine, soldiers on both sides use drones to run reconnaissance on enemy positions, before storming them. Drones are also being used to scout targets for artillery units and have allegedly been used by Ukrainian forces to ferry chemical weapon agents toward the Russian lines and drop them on Russian soldiers in violation of the Geneva Convention.

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According to Russia’s Defence Ministry and America’s Department of Defense, the two nations have spoken since the Black Sea incident took place on Tuesday of this week. After initial tough talk claiming that Russia would face repercussions for what the Biden Administration described as a deliberate mid-air “collision” between the American and Russian crafts, the Biden Administration now claims that it’s unclear what the Russian pilot’s intent was.

For their part, Russia has accused the United States of violating air space restrictions it has established over the Ukrainian combat zone.

US operations in the region “are fraught with escalation of the situation in the Black Sea area,” Russia’s Defence Ministry has claimed, adding that Russian forces will “will respond in kind to all provocations.”

This story is still developing. Stick with National File for updates and more news on the Russo-Ukrainian War as they become available.