On Wednesday, United States Air Forces Central released footage showing Russian fighter jets “harassing” U.S. military drones operating in the skies above Syria.
“Russian SU-35 fighter aircraft close in on U.S. MQ-9 aircraft on July 5, 2023 over on July 5, 2023 over Syria. The Russian SU-35 fighter aircraft employed parachute flares in the flight path of U.S. MQ-9 aircraft. Against established norms and protocols, this forced U.S. aircraft to conduct evasive maneuvers,” United States Air Forces Central said in a statement.
“Additionally, one Russian pilot positioned their aircraft in front of an MQ-9 and engaged afterburner, dynamically increasing speed and air pressure, which reduced the MQ-9 operator’s ability to safely operate the aircraft,” it added. “These events represent a new level of unprofessional and unsafe action by Russian air forces operating in Syria.”
According to Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, commander of the Ninth Air Force and the combined forces air component commander for U.S. Central Command, Russia’s “reckless behavior” forced American aircraft to take “evasive maneuvers.”
“Against established norms and protocols, the Russian jets dropped multiple parachute flares in front of the drones, forcing our aircraft to conduct evasive maneuvers,” Grynkewich said. “Additionally, one Russian pilot positioned their aircraft in front of an MQ-9 and engaged afterburner, thereby reducing the operator’s ability to safely operate the aircraft,” he said.
“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,” he added.
In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he sent tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus as tensions worsen between the U.S. and Russia over its ongoing war with Ukraine.
“The first nuclear charges were delivered to the territory of Belarus. But only the first,” Putin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, according to Bloomberg. “This is the first part. But by the end of the summer, by the end of the year, we will complete this work.”
This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.