Russia Vows to Retaliate Against ’All US Provocations’
Story Code : 1047035
"Flights of American strategic unmanned aerial vehicles off the coast of Crimea are provocative in nature, which creates pre-conditions for an escalation of the situation in the Black Sea zone," the Russian defense ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Russia is not interested in such a development of events, but it will continue to respond proportionately to all provocations," it added.
On Tuesday, the US military claimed that a Russian fighter plane had clipped the propeller of one of its spy drones flying over the Black Sea in "international airspace," causing the drone to crash into the water.
Russia denied that its forces had made any effort to down the drone, and instead suggested that the US aircraft had possibly crashed due to "sharp maneuvering."
According to Moscow, the incident happened as the UAV was flying "over the waters of the Black Sea in the area of the Crimean Peninsula...towards the Russian state border."
Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17, 2014 and formally applied to fall under Russian sovereignty following a referendum. Kiev and Washington have refused to recognize Moscow's sovereignty over the territory.
Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu also told the Pentagon chief that Washington's "increased" intelligence gathering against Russia had led to a drone incident.
Shoigu told his American counterpart Lloyd Austin that "increased intelligence activities against the interests of the Russian Federation" as well as the "non-compliance with the restricted flight zone" declared by Moscow had led to the drone incident, the defense ministry said in the statement.