• The US military has released video of a Russian plane hitting a drone over the Black Sea that has gone viral on the internet.
  • The US said the damage to the large drone meant it had to be launched into the water near Crimea on Tuesday.
  • Russia denied that its Su-27 fighter jet clipped the drone’s propeller, but the video appears to support the US version of events.
  • Russia claimed the drone was approaching its territory, but there is no visible evidence of this in the video footage.

The drone is said to have crashed in the waters off Crimea as a result of the incident. While Russia disputed this version of events, the Pentagon’s assessment of the evidence suggests otherwise.

Secretary Lloyd Austin has indicated that while the video footage is being looked at, it may be some time before it is released and made available to the public.

What happened in that airspace over the Black Sea will remain an intriguing subject for at least some time to come.

Mr Austin had previously criticized Russia’s actions, describing them as dangerous and reckless. The released video footage seems to support this claim.

The footage from a camera mounted on the drone shows a Russian Su-27 fighter jet making two very close passes and releasing what appears to be fuel on approach.

In the first pass, the camera’s lens is seemingly obscured by the beam, and in the second pass, the beam interferes with the drone’s video feed. When the video feed returns, a blade of the drone’s propeller can be seen bent at the rear of the aircraft.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told the BBC it is unclear whether the Russian action was intentional or accidental.

However, he stressed that the move was “completely inappropriate, unsafe and unprofessional”. Surveillance flights over the Black Sea will continue, but military escorts are unnecessary and put pilots at risk, Kirby said.

Russia claimed the drone was approaching its territory, but there is no visible evidence of this in the video footage.

Moscow appeared to suggest on Tuesday that it had imposed a unilateral no-fly zone over the region as part of its invasion of Ukraine.

Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said the drone had done that “violated limits of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation.” However, Mr Kirby clarified that the airspace was international and not restricted.

Russian planes dumped fuel on the drone several times before the collision, according to a US statement.

Pentagon spokesman Brig Gen Pat Ryder told reporters the drone was “unflyable and uncontrollable,” adding that the collision likely damaged the Russian plane.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed the drone crashed after a “sharp maneuver” and that it was flying with communications equipment disabled.

The Kremlin has yet to comment on the release of the US video. Russian ships were seen at the scene of the crashed drone on the Black Sea, according to US media reports.

Mr Kirby said the US was also looking for the plane but stressed that if Russia got ahead of them, “their ability to exploit useful information will be greatly minimized.”

This message was echoed by General Mark Milley, America’s top military general, who said the US took “mitigating measures” to ensure there was nothing of value to the downed drone.