Relations with US in bad state amid drone incident, Kremlin says

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The Kremlin said on Wednesday that relations with the United States were in a “lamentable state” and at their lowest level, after Washington accused Russia of downing one of its reconnaissance drones over the Black Sea.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters there had been no high-level contact with Washington over the incident, and that he had nothing to add to a statement issued by Russia’s defense ministry.

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He said bilateral relations were “at their lowest point, in a very lamentable state” but that “at the same time, Russia has never refused constructive dialogue, and is not refusing now.”

The US military said on Tuesday that a Russian fighter plane had clipped the propeller of one of its spy drones as it flew over the Black Sea in international air space, causing it to plunge into the water. US Air Force General James Hecker called it an “unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians.”

Russia denied hitting the drone, suggesting it had crashed due to “sharp maneuvering.”

Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said that the drone “deliberately and provocatively was moving towards Russian territory with transponders turned off.”

“The unacceptable activity of the US military in close proximity to our borders is a cause for concern,” Antonov said.

“They are collecting intelligence, which is subsequently used by the Kyiv regime to strike at our armed forces and territory.”

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