Washington [US], March 17: The US and Russia had high-level phone calls to discuss the US reconnaissance drone crash in the Black Sea while racing to recover debris.
The incident of a US MQ-9 Reaper reconnaissance drone that crashed in the Black Sea on March 14, accusing it of going back and forth between the US and Russia, continues to strain relations between the two sides. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on March 15 had a rare phone call after months to discuss the incident. Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley also had a private phone call with Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.
According to TASS, the Russian Defense Ministry said Shoigu said the incident was caused by the US violating the airspace limits established by Russia. The Russian Defense Minister stated that the US drone flights near the coast of Crimea are provocative and could lead to an escalation in the Black Sea.
Shoigu also warned that despite such a desire, Russia will continue to respond proportionately to all provocations.
On the US side, Minister Austin declined to provide details about the phone call, including whether he criticized Russia's actions or not. However, according to Reuters, Austin at a later press conference affirmed that the US would continue to fly where international law allows, and demanded that Russian military aircraft operate in a safe and professional manner.
Meanwhile, both Russia and the US are racing to recover the MQ-9 Reaper. Rossiya-1 TV channel quoted Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev as saying that Russia will try to salvage the US UAV. However, General Milley said that the UAV may have broken up and sunk in waters up to 1,500 meters deep, making it difficult to recover, and the US may take several days to determine the area of the debris area. Milley also said the US had taken measures to prevent the loss of sensitive intelligence if Russia found the drone.
Source: ThanhNien Newspaper