Illustration photo – Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow – Russian-American relations are in a deplorable state and have fallen to the lowest level, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today. This comes after the United States on Tuesday accused Russia of destroying a US surveillance drone flying over the Black Sea.
President Vladimir Putin, as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, was informed about the incident, but there were no contacts with the American side at the highest level, Peskov told reporters. At the same time, he assured that Russia has never refused and still does not refuse “constructive dialogue”.
He refused to comment on the incident itself and referred to the “exhaustive explanation” of the Russian Ministry of Defense, to which, according to the spokesman, there is nothing to add.
The Russians claim that the US drone crashed on its own as a result of its own violent maneuvering. Russian Su-27 fighter jets accompanied the drone, but did not shoot it down or make contact. On the contrary, according to the American version, the MQ-9 Reaper drone crashed into the Black Sea after one of the Russian Su-27 fighter jets knocked it off its propeller. According to American media, it was all the fault of the Russian pilots, who failed to handle the situation.
The incident occurred in international airspace over international waters. The Russians, on the other hand, claim that the drone flew with its transponders turned off in an area with a “temporary mode of use” reserved by Russia due to its “military operation in Ukraine”. This is Russia's official designation for the war that Moscow started in the neighboring country last February.
Washington summoned the Russian ambassador over the downed drone, who described the incident as a provocation.
Kiev today accused Moscow that it is trying to expand the war against Ukraine. “The incident with the American MQ-9 Reaper drone, which was provoked by Russia in the Black Sea, is a signal that Putin is ready to expand the area of the conflict and draw other countries into it,” Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of the Ukrainian Security Council, wrote on Twitter. According to him, Putin is playing a decoy and is constantly raising the stakes in an attempt to avert Russia's defeat.