Putin honors Russian pilots as ‘heroes’ for destroying US drone

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation at the Kremlin in Moscow on Feb. 21, 2022. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin honored the pilots of the two jets involved in destroying a U.S. drone flying over the Black Sea in international waters.

The Russian Ministry of Defense released the statement honoring the pilots’ efforts they claimed “prevented a violation” of a military exclusion zone.

The translated statement from Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu claimed the honor was “for the purposes of conducting a special military operation.”

It continued, “In order to identify the intruder, fighters from the air defense forces on duty were lifted into the air. [The] MQ-9 went into uncontrolled flight with a loss of altitude and collided with the water surface. Russian fighters did not use airborne weapons, did not come into contact with an unmanned aerial vehicle and returned safely to their home base.”

The U.S. European Command released a video following the incident revealing a Russian Su-27 dropping fuel on the American drone before its camera cut out.

“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9,” said USAF Gen. James B. Hecker, commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa. “In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”

Read more here: https://americanmilitarynews.com/2023/03/putin-honors-russian-pilots-as-heroes-for-destroying-us-drone/