Kyiv says US drone incident shows Putin is willing to expand conflict zone

Archive – Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksi Danilov – -/Ukrinform/dpa

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov said on Wednesday that the incident recorded on Tuesday with a US drone in the Black Sea is »a signal» from Russian President Vladimir Putin about his »readiness to expand the conflict zone».

»The incident with the US drone MQ-9 Reaper, provoked by Russia in the Black Sea, is Putin’s signal about his readiness to expand the conflict zone with the participation of other parties,» he said on his account on the social network Twitter, before stressing that »the constant tactic of betting everything and raising the stakes in conditions of a strategic defeat has the hope of changing circumstances.»

According to the U.S. Forces Command, one of the Russian fighters flying over the Black Sea hit one of the drone’s propellers, prompting U.S. authorities to shoot it down at sea. According to the Pentagon, Russian aircraft flew close to the drone for more than 30 minutes before it fell into the waters of the Black Sea, but its wreckage could not be recovered.

For their part, the Russian authorities have affirmed that the Russian military at no time made use of weapons or came into contact with the US drone, which was flying with its transponders turned off and violating the area delimited »in accordance with international regulations» for overflights in international airspace.