(ReliableNews.org) – On March 16, the Biden Administration released a video showing a Russian fighter jet seemingly dumping fuel on the US Air Force surveillance drone. The US government claims the Russian Su-27 then clipped the MQ-9 Reaper drone’s propeller and damaged one of its blades two days prior, causing it to crash in the Black Sea. The evening after the incident, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on Fox News, where he suggested the US military should shoot down any Russian planes that are “threatening our assets.”
JUST IN – U.S. releases a video showing the collision of the Russian fighter jet with the MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea.pic.twitter.com/MHuGIUkxyL
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) March 16, 2023
Moscow quickly responded to Graham’s declaration. Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said the South Carolina legislator was spewing “dangerous” rhetoric that could cause an “escalation” between Russia and the United States. Summit News reported the ambassador wondered if Graham thought a “direct military clash” between the two countries was in his constituents’ best interests. Antonov said if that kind of talk led to action, it could start a “full-scale nuclear war.”
According to the Associated Press, the White House took a different approach, attempting to ease tensions. While officials admitted the incident showed recklessness, they couldn’t confirm whether the Russian pilot struck the drone on purpose or not, leaving the door open for discussions. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reiterated the fact that the US has no interest in a “conflict with Russia.”
However, Moscow saw the drone’s presence as provocative. Reuters reported Antonov said the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was heading toward “Russian territory with [its] transponders turned off.” Still, the country officially denied any contact with the US drone, saying it crashed into the sea as a result of “sharp maneuvering.”
Responses to Graham’s suggestion on Fox News elicited a sharp response from inside the US, with some going so far as to call the legislator an “idiot” and a “warmonger” who should be the first to be drafted if his words cause the next world war.
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