Russia calls on US to stop ‘hostile’ flights after collision

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Russia’s ambassador to the United States on Wednesday called on Washington to stop “hostile” flights near his country’s border, after an American drone was intercepted by Russian fighters over the Black Sea.

“We assume that the United States will refrain from further speculation in the media and stop flights near Russian borders,” ambassador Anatoly Antonov wrote on Telegram. “We consider any action with the use of US weaponry as openly hostile.”

Antonov also said that Moscow sees the incident as a provocation.

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“The American UAV deliberately and provocatively was moving towards Russian territory with transponders turned off,” Antonov said in remarks posted on his embassy’s website.

“We view this incident as a provocation,” Antonov told Russian agencies on Tuesday after being summoned by the US State Department.

The US military MQ-9 surveillance drone crashed into the Black Sea on Tuesday after a Russian Su-27 jet struck its propeller, the Pentagon said, the first such incident since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over a year ago.

Russia has denied that any contact was made and says the drone crashed after “sharp maneuvering.”

“The unacceptable activity of the US military in the 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.”

Antonov said his meeting at the State Department was “constructive” and the issue of possible “consequences” for Russia over the incident was not raised, the RIA news agency reported.

“We believe it is important that the lines of communication remain open,” the embassy quoted Antonov as saying. “Russia does not seek confrontation and stands for pragmatic cooperation in the interests of the peoples of our countries.”

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