Declassified video shows Russian fighter jet dumping fuel and colliding with US drone

Early Thursday, the Pentagon released declassified video that officials said shows Tuesday’s collision between a Russian Su-27 fighter jet and a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea.

The American ship plunged into the sea after an incident in which US officials blamed aggressive and unprofessional behavior on the part of the Russian side.

The 42-second video seems to at least partially confirm the American version of events. Moscow denies that its planes fired at or shot down the drone. They accused the US of flying surveillance flights so close to Russian territory.

But the footage shows a Russian jet flying dangerously close to the MQ-9. On the first flight, the Russian plane appears to dump fuel in an attempt to disable the drone.

The drone remained undamaged after the first encounter. A short time later, the Russian jet made a second flyby, dropping more fuel, but this time the plane appeared to hit the MQ-9’s propeller, damaging it and temporarily halting the drone’s video feed.

SEE ALSO: ‘It’s US property’: Pentagon scrambles to find drone wreckage as Russia launches recovery mission

The video then resumes briefly. Later, American crews shot down the drone in the Black Sea.

Hours before the video was released, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the footage corroborated the American version of the story.

“We remain confident in the facts we have provided so far,” Mr Austin told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. “It’s not going to change in terms of what happened and how it happened.”

Neither the US nor Russia have yet found the wreckage of the MQ-9, which is believed to have sunk to the bottom of the Black Sea. Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Wednesday that the Pentagon knows where the Reaper crashed.

He said the US could enlist allies to help rebuild it.

“This is US property,” General Milley said. “We have allies and friends in the region. At the moment we have no Navy ships in the Black Sea. We will work out the options.”

“It probably sank to a considerable depth, so any recovery operation would be very difficult from a technical point of view,” General Milley said. “We have options and we have friends and allies in the region.”

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