• March 16, 2023


The downing of a unmanned recce drone by the Russians is likely to increase tensions between Russia and NATO in the Black Sea area, US drones and other manned recce aircraft (RIVET-JOINT) have been monitoring the Ukraine conflict since before the Russian invasion in 2022.

This from CNN:

“The Reaper drone and two Russian Su-27 aircraft were flying over international waters over the Black Sea on Tuesday when one of the Russian jets intentionally flew in front of and dumped fuel on the unmanned drone several times, a statement from US European Command said.

“The aircraft then hit the propeller of the drone, prompting US forces to bring the MQ-9 drone down in international waters. Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder added Tuesday that the Russian aircraft flew “in the vicinity” of the drone for 30 to 40 minutes before colliding just after 7 a.m. Central European Time.

“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,” Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker, commander of US Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, said in the statement. “In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”

Full link:


In addition to the USAF the United Kingdom and NATO operate manned surveillance aircraft in the area. Air Defences forces in Romania have also been beefed up since the 2022 invasion.

Tension both on the Black Sea area and in the Baltic has increased as both sides deploy increased forces. USAF B-52 bombers recently flew over the Gulf of Finland and air defence forces in the Baltic States have been enhanced.

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Bernard Moffatt

AGS Celtic League (15th March 2023)

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