MOSCOW, February 7. /TASS/. Russia considers China's explanations on the situation with the balloon over US territory quite sufficient and straightforward, while at the same time Washington's reaction in this matter can only be described as ‘hysterical’, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a commentary distributed on Tuesday.
"We believe that the explanations given by the Chinese side about the country’s balloon entering US airspace as a result of force majeure are quite sufficient and understandable. China acted responsibly in this difficult situation, which cannot be said about the impulsive reaction of Washington and the US media: you can hardly call it anything but hysterical," the diplomat said.
Zakharova added that the US has continued to smear and demonize countries which did not intend to dance to their tune, "and more often without any far-fetched reason".
US Defense Department Press Secretary Patrick Ryder said on February 2 that US authorities had detected and were tracking a high-altitude "reconnaissance balloon" over the continental United States. It was shot down on February 4 by the US military off the coast of South Carolina within US airspace.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said it was "a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes". According to the spokesperson, "affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course". The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed regret that force majeure resulted in the meteorological probe entering US airspace and expressed readiness to maintain contact with the US authorities to resolve the situation.