MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russian military specialists will deal with raising a US drone from the seabed if they deem it necessary for security reasons, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
"This is the prerogative of the military. If they deem it necessary to do that in the Black Sea for our interests and for our security, they will deal with that," the Russian presidential spokesman said, replying to a question about whether Russia would try to raise the American unmanned aerial vehicle from the seabed to examine it.
The Kremlin’s press secretary said that he did not know the exact plans of the military. "This is their prerogative and these issues should be addressed precisely to them," Peskov said.
As Russia’s Defense Ministry reported, the Aerospace Forces’ air space control capabilities spotted a US MQ-9 drone near the Crimean Peninsula on the morning of March 14. As the ministry specified, the American drone flew with its transponders switched off "violating the borders of the area covered by the temporary regime for the airspace use established for the purposes of the special military operation and brought to the notice of all users of international airspace and published in accordance with international norms."
As the Russian Defense Ministry specified, the drone went into an uncontrolled flight as a result of an abrupt maneuver, lost its altitude and crashed into the water. Russian fighter jets did not employ their onboard armaments, did not enter into contact with the drone and safely returned to their home airfield.
As the US European Command claimed, one of two Russian Su-27 fighter jets hit the American drone’s propeller, causing it to crash into the Black Sea waters.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told a press conference on March 15 that the United States was yet undecided on whether to try to find and recover the fragments of the UAV that had crashed into the Black Sea.
As Milley elaborated, the drone’s fragments lie at a depth of "probably about 4,000-5,000 feet of water [about 1.5 km]" and "it probably - don't know for certain." He further said that "it'll be days" before the Pentagon had actual data.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said that any operation to recover the drone’s fragments "from a technical standpoint would be very difficult." Although the United States has "friends and allies in the region," "we don't have any naval surface vessels in the Black Sea at this time," Milley said.