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Kremlin says no contacts between Russia and US following drone incident in Black Sea

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were no contacts between Russia and the US at the highest level following Tuesday’s incident involving a US drone in the Black Sea.

Commenting at a press briefing in Moscow on the Pentagon’s accusations of Russia’s “unsafe interception” of a US MQ-9 Reaper drone, Peskov said each country “will defend its interests.”

Peskov called “strange” a question asking whether Russian President Vladimir Putin was briefed on the incident.

“Do you imagine that the head of state, the supreme commander-in-chief, has not been informed about the incident? Of course, this is impossible, of course, he was briefed,” he said.

Peskov refused to give any details about the interception, saying: “We have nothing to add to the statement of the Defense Ministry, it was quite exhaustive. (The circumstances of the incident were) described.”

To predictions on further deterioration of Russian-American ties, Peskov said relations are its “lowest point,” adding that the ministry statement “clearly says no weapons were used, there was no physical contact.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said that a drone whose transponders were turned off was detected over the Black Sea on Tuesday.

To identify the violator, fighter jets from the air defense forces on duty were engaged, and the drone, as a result of sharp maneuvering, went out of control, lost altitude and hit the water’s surface.

Asked about Putin’s talks with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Peskov confirmed they planned to discuss relations between Damascus and Ankara.

However, the main topics on the agenda are bilateral ties, cooperation during the post-war reconstruction of Syria, and seeking solutions for the achievement of the Syrian settlement with an emphasis on the “absolute priority of the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the country, he added.

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