Russian forces reach US drone crash site in Black Sea, say reports
Russian forces have reached the site of the US MQ-9 surveillance drone that was downed in the Black Sea in an attempt to recover it, officials told CNN.
The Kremlin vowed on Wednesday to try and recover the large drone which crashed in international waters after its encounter with Russian fighter jets a day earlier.
It is not clear if Russia has been able to recover any remains of the drone when they arrived at the crash site, which is around 70 miles southwest of Crimea, the US officials told the news network.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that the US had made it “impossible” for Russia to obtain any useful material from the downed drone.
But he refused to confirm to CNN if the Russians were on site.
“Whatever’s left of that that’s floating will probably be flight control surfaces, that kind of thing,” Mr Kirby told the channel’s Wolf Blitzer.
“Probably nothing of real intrinsic value to them in terms of re-engineering or anything like that. We’re not overly concerned about whatever they might get their hands on.”
And he added: “It’s our property and they have no business recovering anything.”
The Pentagon has said a Russian Su-27 jet struck the propeller of the unmanned drone, making it inoperable.
Earlier on Wednesday the top US military general said that the drone had probably broken up and was in deep water, making its recovery difficult.
“It probably sank to some significant depths, so any recovery operation from a technical standpoint would be very difficult,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told reporters.
The US was unable to reach the site before Russia as it currently has no Navy ships in the Black Sea.