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Shoigu Nominates Pilots Involved in MQ-9 Reaper Drone Intercept for State Awards

© Russian Ministry of Defence / Go to the mediabankRussian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.03.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has nominated for state awards the pilots of the Su-27 fighters that prevented a violation of the borders of the special operation zone by a US MQ-9 Reaper drone, the ministry said on Friday.
"Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu presented for state awards the pilots of the Su-27 aircraft, who prevented the violation of the borders of the area of the temporary regime for the use of airspace, established for the purpose of conducting a special military operation, by the US unmanned aerial vehicle MQ-9," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry specified that the borders of this area had been communicated to all the parties using international airspace and published in accordance with the international rules.
An MQ-9 Reaper, a hunter-killer surveillance UAV - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2023
Russian MoD on US Drone Incident: UAV Fell Into Black Sea Due to Own Sharp Maneuvering
Shoigu's nomination is a preliminary procedure before President Vladimir Putin awards the pilots. Under Article 89 of the Russian Constitution, only the president can confer state awards on those nominated for them.
On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said a US MQ-9 drone fell in the Black Sea after engaging in sharp maneuvering, noting that Russian fighter jets sent to intercept it did not come into contact with it nor used weapons against it.
The ministry said the air control of the Russian Aerospace Forces recorded the flight of the drone in the region of the Crimean Peninsula in the direction of the Russian border. The US European Command, in turn, said that the incident that resulted in the complete loss of the drone involved a Russian Su-27 aircraft, which allegedly struck the drone's propeller during an "unsafe and unprofessional intercept" over the Black Sea.
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