Russian jets carrying hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles
Russian jets carrying hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles AFP


  • The US accused Russian Su-35 fighters of attacking MQ-9 Reaper drones in Syria
  • A compelling footage showcasing the aggressive encounter was released
  • Concerns rise over safety as Russian jets engaged in dangerous maneuvers near US drones

The US has leveled accusations against Russia, claiming that it has been engaging in perilous maneuvers in close proximity to U.S. military drones operating over Syria. These actions have raised concerns that Moscow may intentionally seek to "shoot down" another MQ-9 Reaper drone.

On July 5, the US Air Force released video evidence showing three Russian Su-35 fighter jets involved in dangerous maneuvers near multiple US drones operating within Syrian airspace.

In an official statement, Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich expressed concern over the actions of the Russian jets, describing their behavior as "unsafe and unprofessional." The incident occurred around 10:40 a.m. on July 5, when the Russian jets encountered three US MQ-9 drones in Syrian airspace.

According to Grynkewich, the Russian pilots engaged in repeated acts of harassment toward the drones during the entire duration of the encounter. Their actions were characterized as deliberate and persistent.

Grynkewich emphasized that the Russian jets violated established norms and protocols by deploying a significant number of parachute flares directly in the path of the US drones. This deliberate action forced the US aircraft to perform evasive maneuvers in order to avoid the flares and maintain their safety.

Grynkewich also highlighted that one of the Russian pilots intentionally positioned his Su-35 fighter aircraft in front of an MQ-9 drone and engaged the afterburner, thereby jeopardizing the operator's ability to maintain safe control over the drone.

The Air Force has released an unclassified video that provides glimpses of the encounter between the Russian jets and the MQ-9 drones. In one frame, a Su-35 fighter jet can be seen approaching one of the MQ-9 drones in close proximity. Another segment of the video captures the deployment of parachute flares within the flight path of the drones.

The caption accompanying the video describes the engagement as a "new level" of inappropriate behavior demonstrated by Russia's air force in Syria.

"These events represent another example of unprofessional and unsafe actions by Russian air forces operating in Syria, which threaten the safety of both US and Russian forces," Grynkewich said.

He added, "We urge Russian forces in Syria to cease this reckless behavior and adhere to the standards of behavior expected of a professional air force so we can resume our focus on the enduring defeat of ISIS."

The Air Force did not disclose specific details about the mission undertaken by the MQ-9 drones in Syria against ISIS targets.

The timely release of the recent video showcasing the encounter between the Russian fighter jets and MQ-9 drones bears resemblance to a previous incident that occurred in March, Eurasian Times reported.

During the earlier incident, a video was declassified and made available to the public. This video aimed to illustrate the harassment of an MQ-9 drone by a Russian Su-27 pilot. The incident took place in international airspace above the Black Sea, further emphasizing the need to highlight such encounters involving Russian military aircraft.

A collision between a Russian jet and a US military drone occurred, resulting in damage to the drone's rear propeller. Consequently, the US made the decision to safely bring down the MQ-9 Reaper drone into the Black Sea.

US officials have expressed growing concerns over the increasing aggressiveness exhibited by Russian pilots near American interests and assets across the Middle East in recent months.