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Moscow claims US drone collected intelligence, used by Ukraine for strikes on Russia

Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov claimed on Wednesday that a US unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) gathered reconnaissance information to convey it to Ukraine for the strikes on Russia.

In a Telegram comment by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Antonov said he was invited to the US State Department on Tuesday following the crash of a US drone over the Black Sea, “where (he) categorically rejected all the insinuations of the American side.”

The Pentagon on Tuesday accused Russia of an “unsafe” intercept of a US MQ-9 Reaper above the Black Sea that led to the aircraft’s downing.

Responding to the accusations, Antonov said: “The American UAV was straightly and provocatively moving in the direction of the Russian territory with the transponders turned off, and violated the boundaries of the temporary restricted area established for the purpose of conducting the special military operation.”

He stressed that “in accordance with international norms, all interested users of international airspace were informed” about the temporary restrictions for the flights in the region.

Antonov said the Russian fighter jets did not use weapons to down the drone and did not get in contact with it in any way.

The envoy voiced concern over the “unacceptable activity of the US military” in the “immediate vicinity” of the Russian borders.

“What are they (drones) doing thousands of kilometers away from the US? The answer is obvious — they are collecting intelligence information, which is subsequently used by the Kyiv regime to attack our armed forces and territory,” he noted.

Antonov said that if a Russian combat drone appeared near New York or San Francisco, the actions of the US military “would be uncompromising in nature,” not allowing any violation of its air or sea space.

“We expect that the US will refrain from further speculations in the media and will end flights near the Russian boundaries. We perceive any actions involving the use of American weapons and equipment as openly hostile,” he stressed.

The ambassador reminded that Washington’s supplies to Kyiv are estimated to be around $30 billion, adding: “Only think about these figures! It is absolutely obvious that it is the US that is leading the situation to a deliberate escalation, fraught with direct armed conflict.”

In such a situation, Moscow considers it important to keep the lines of communication open, he noted.

“Russia does not seek confrontation and stands for pragmatic cooperation for the interests of the peoples of our countries,” Antonov said.

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