Friday, March 17, 2023

Russian defense minister awards fighter jet pilots for downing US drone

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has presented awards to the pilots of two Su-27 fighter planes that intercepted a US drone near the airspace around Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, his ministry said on Friday.

The drone crashed into the Black Sea on Tuesday after being intercepted by Russian jets, in the first known direct military encounter between Russia and the United States since Russia's SMO Ukraine a year ago.

 Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu handed down an order to decorate the pilots of the Su-27 fighter jets who intercepted a US MQ-9 spy drone over the Black Sea area restricted for flights during the special military operation, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Friday.

"Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergey Shoigu has issued an order to bestow state awards on the pilots of the Su-27 planes who did not allow the US MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle to violate the airspace restricted for use during the special military operation," the ministry said in a statement.

The boundaries of the airspace restricted for flights were brought to the notice of all international airspace users and published in accordance with international norms, the ministry stressed.

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