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Pentagon declassifies VIDEO of Russian planes ‘harassing’ US drones — RT World News



The incident follows several other clashes between US and Russian planes in recent weeks.

The US military accused the Russian pilots of “harassment” US drones flying over Syria, claiming several planes engaged in “reckless” behavior and forced the drones to take evasive action. The Pentagon released footage purporting to show the encounter.

Air Forces Central, the air component of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), issued a statement on Wednesday alleging “dangerous and unprofessional” flying by the Russian jets as they interacted with several Reaper drones.

“As three American MQ-9 drones were carrying out a mission against ISIS targets, three Russian fighter jets began harassing the drones. Against established norms and protocols, the Russian jets dropped several flares in front of the drones, forcing our planes to perform evasive maneuvers. Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, chief of Air Forces Central, said in the press release.

The command later released video of the skirmish, with what appears to be a Russian aircraft seen firing flares near the drones, leaving descending trails of smoke.

Although not captured in the footage, Grynkewich added that a Russian pilot positioned his jet in front of a UAV and “engaged [its] afterburner, reducing the operator’s ability to operate the aircraft safely. » He then urged Russian forces in Syria to “Stop this reckless behavior and live up to the standards of behavior expected of a professional Air Force.”

The encounter follows several similar incidents in the skies above Syria this year, with Grynkewich telling the Wall Street Journal there were 60 separate clashes between March and April alone. Last month, CENTCOM said it would respond with a further deployment of F-22 Raptors to the region, citing “increasingly dangerous and unprofessional behavior by Russian aircraft.”

Moscow has also accused Washington of dangerous flights in Syria. In May, Rear Admiral Oleg Gurinov, deputy director of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria, said US warplanes continued to commit “gross violations” established deconfliction protocols.

“US Air Force pilots continue to activate weapons systems as they approach in the air with Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft on scheduled flights in eastern Syria,” he added.

Another episode involving Russian military jets and US Reaper drones in March saw the advanced US aircraft plunging into the Black Sea. While US officials also said the incident was another case of reckless theft, Moscow denied hitting the drone. The Russian pilots were later personally decorated by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who praised them for preventing a “violation by the American drone MQ-9” in a closed air space.

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