OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 2:19 PM PT – Thursday, March 16, 2023
Russian ships have reportedly arrived at the drone crash site in the Black Sea, according to United States officials. This comes as a U.S. surveillance drone had crashed after being intercepted by Russian fighter jets.
It is reported that Russia sent ships to search the debris field almost immediately after the MQ-9 drone was clipped by a Su-27 fighter jet and downed into the water.
“They wasted no time,” the defense official said.
Remains of the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper drone, which the U.S. believed was brought down by one of two Russian Su-27 planes clipping the drone’s propeller, had sunk in waters as deep as 1,219 to 1,524 meters (4,000 to 5,000 feet), according to Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.
“It probably sank to some significant depths, so any recovery operation from a technical standpoint would be very difficult,” Milley said.
After news broke on Thursday of U.S. authorities confirming that Russian ships had arrived at the crash site, Moscow has said that it would make an effort to recover the drone’s debris despite maintaining that its aircraft had not made physical contact with the drone.
Secretary of Russia’s security council Nikolai Patrushev stated to the Rossiya-1 TV station on Wednesday that Russia will endeavor to recover the U.S. surveillance drone.
“I don’t know whether we will be able to retrieve it or not but it has to be done. And we’ll certainly work on it. I hope, of course, successfully,” Patrushev said.
The drone incident, according to Patrushev, was further evidence that the U.S. was taking part in the conflict in Ukraine.
“We’re quite confident that whatever was of value is no longer of value,” Milley said in regards to the recoverable debris.