SU-30SM, SU-35S, and SU-34 flying in formation - Sputnik International, 1920
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US Will Continue to Fly Intelligence Drones in Black Sea Despite Recent Crash: Defense Secretary

© Photo : Gerald L NinoA General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone operated by US Customs and Border Protection
A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone operated by US Customs and Border Protection - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.03.2023
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States continues to fly drones in areas of the Black Sea it considers necessary for intelligence collection, despite the recent crash of a drone near Russia, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday.
“We have flown on the paths that we want to fly in the Black Sea to collect intelligence information,” Austin said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, when asked if the US continues to fly in the area of the crashed drone. “We will fly the paths that we feel necessary to collect intelligence information.”
Earlier this month, a US MQ-9 Reaper drone crashed in the Black Sea after Russian fighter jets were sent to intercept the aircraft. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that the drone crashed after sharp maneuvering, while the US accuses one of the Russian jets of striking the drone’s propeller.
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Austin declined to confirm whether the US continues to fly drones in the same area as the crashed drone, instead recommending lawmakers take the discussion to a closed session.
Earlier on Tuesday, CNN reported that the US is now flying drones in the Black Sea on paths further away from the coastline, limiting Washington’s ability to gather intelligence in an attempt to avoid provocation. However, there is already a desire to return to paths closer to Russian territory, the report said, citing a US official.
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