WASHINGTON, March 15. /TASS/. Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said he had rejected all Washington's insinuations of the US side regarding Tuesday’s incident involving the MQ-9 Reaper drone of the United States above the Black Sea.
"On March 14, I was invited to the State Department where I categorically rejected all the insinuations of the US side," the Russian embassy quoted Antonov as saying in a communique, issued on Wednesday in connection with the incident.
According to the diplomat, he "explained the position of the Russian Federation" during the meeting.
"I stressed that the American UAV that was moving deliberately and provocatively towards the Russian territory with its transponders turned off violated the boundaries of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation, which was communicated to the all concerned users of international airspace in accordance with international norms," Antonov continued.
He emphasized that "the Russian fighters scrambled to identify the intruder did not use on-board weapons and did not come into contact with the UAV."
Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian airspace control systems have detected an American MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle on Tuesday, flying over the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula towards the state border of the Russian Federation. The drone flew with its transponders off, violating the boundaries of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation, communicated to all users of international airspace, and published in accordance with international standards.
The ministry added that as a result of quick maneuvering, the drone went into an unguided flight with a loss of altitude and collided with the water surface. The ministry stressed that the Russian aircraft did not use on-board weapons, did not come into contact with the unmanned aerial vehicle, and returned safely to their home airfield.
MQ-9 Reaper is a modular reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicle developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. It is equipped with a turboprop engine and can develop a speed of more than 400 kilometer per hour. The maximal flight duration is 24 hours. The drone is capable of carrying air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles, and laser-guided bombs.