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Drone incident hampered US intelligence gathering – CNN – RT World News

The Pentagon redirected its spy drones over the Black Sea following an encounter with a Russian plane

President Joe Biden’s administration’s decision to redirect drone flights over the Black Sea to avoid direct conflict with Russian forces has reduced intelligence gathering on the Ukraine crisis, an official told CNN. senior US military official.

Flying drones at greater distances from the conflict zone and at higher altitudes has reduced the quality of intelligence they can gather, CNN reported Tuesday, citing the senior official without identifying the source. The rerouting was reportedly ordered earlier this month, after a US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone was forced over the Black Sea by a Russian Sukhol Su-27 fighter jet on March 14 .

Although the Pentagon has publicly dismissed Russian complaints about the flight of the drone, saying the United States will continue to “fly and operate wherever international law permits”, Washington has begun moving its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) further south, keeping them at a greater distance from the Crimean peninsula and eastern parts of the Black Sea.

The rerouting was done for “avoid being too provocative” CNN previously quoted another US official as saying. However, the outlet said, there are already “an appetite” resume drone flight closer to Crimea.

A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on how, if at all, the quality of intelligence gathering in the Black Sea has been affected. “We maintain a strong ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capability in the region and beyond,” he said.

The Pentagon accused the Russian pilots of reckless flight, saying one of the jets cut the unmanned plane’s propeller, causing it to fall. However, footage allegedly shot by the drone only showed a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet buzzing overhead and allegedly ejecting fuel in the process. Russia denied hitting the drone or using weapons against it, and said the US plane was flying with its transponder turned off in a no-go zone declared by the Russian military.

The new drone routes have kept flights more than 40 nautical miles from not just Crimea but also the Ukrainian coast, rather than the 12 miles normally recognized as the limit of a country’s airspace, CNN said. . After moving flights further south, it may be more difficult to return to old routes and assert freedom of international airspace for US planes, the senior official said. US Navy ships have remained out of the Black Sea since December 2021.

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