White House: We do not seek armed conflict with Russia

The Pentagon said that in the footage released on Thursday, the Russian Su-27 jet is seen approaching the American MQ-9 Reaper drone, dumping fuel to blind its camera.

American officials said it or another Russian warplane came close again, damaging the drone’s propeller, an action that forced Washington to shoot the drone down in international waters.

“It is not unusual for us to publish footage of dangerous and unprofessional incidents and actions. We have done this in the past as well. “Especially in this case, given the reckless and dangerous behavior, to publicly demonstrate how the Russians acted, we felt it was important to release the footage,” said General Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman.

The United States said a drone like this was flying in international airspace over the Black Sea off the coast of Ukraine, a claim Moscow disputes.

“They completely ignored the fact that after the start of the special military operation, our military has declared certain areas of the Black Sea near the coast as areas with limited access for any aircraft,” said Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister.

Moscow also denied allegations that its aircraft damaged the drone’s propeller. The Kremlin said it would try to find its remnants and that it would respond proportionately to any future provocations by the United States.

On the other hand, the White House says that it aims to reduce tensions.

“We do not seek armed conflict with Russia. We therefore maintain direct lines of communication to minimize the risk of escalation. So we do not seek armed conflict with Russia,” said Karine Jean-Pieirre, spokeswoman for the White House.

Clashes between Russian and NATO jets near Ukraine’s Black Sea coast are commonplace, but the downing of the US drone raised concerns about a possible escalation between the two nuclear superpowers, who have deep disagreements over Ukraine.

“The fact that we were operating a drone that was possibly providing information to help Ukraine’s war effort, does that make us an indirect or direct participant in the war? This is unclear. I think both sides are in a gray area and we’re negotiating through these incidents to understand the limits of what the Russians consider acceptable and what they’re able to do to express their disapproval,” says Kelly Grieco of Stimson Center.

She adds that Russian forces have reacted harshly in several conflict zones, including Ukraine and Syria.

However, the Kremlin seems reluctant to challenge NATO’s principle of collective defense.

Meanwhile, American President Joe Biden has repeatedly stated that he will not seek the involvement of American forces in a direct conflict with Russia.

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