20.03.2023 Author: Vladimir Danilov

USA criticized globally over MQ-9 drone incident


The crash of an American MQ-9 drone heading for the Russian border in the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula on March 14 in the morning is likely one of the most discussed topics in the global media in recent days.

According to an official communication from the Russian Defense Ministry, the US UAV’s flight was in violation of the temporary airspace use regime established in accordance with international norms for the area’s boundaries due to the special military operation, and its transponders were turned off.  Fighter jets from Russian Aerospace Forces were deployed in the air to identify the intruder. The MQ-9 made a quick maneuver that caused it to lose control of its flight and crash into the water. The Russian fighter jets did not engage the unmanned aerial vehicle during the incident and did not fire any of their on-board weaponry.

The MQ-9 Reaper is a modular reconnaissance and strike US UAV that can carry a variety of combinations of weapons and electronic equipment depending on the mission, including carrying an arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons. As a result, there is no doubt about Russia’s eligibility for protective measures against the United States’ hostile use of the said UAV against Russia. Especially in light of recent open calls by various US representatives for the armed destruction of the Russian Federation. In particular, former US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s call to define the objectives of the US-Russia war.

In contrast to US military officials’ attempts to portray the incident as a “wrongful act by Russia,” particularly Gen. James Hecker, Commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, ordinary Americans are discussing the blatantly “insane” US version of the incident that caused the MQ-9 UAV to crash into the Black Sea. Thus, US armed forces veteran Noctis Draven emphasized that Washington’s anti-Russian propaganda narrative is “easily disproved,” and that if Russia had hostile intentions, the MQ-9 would have been shot down without endangering the pilot or the aircraft.

The MQ-9 incident has been widely discussed in the US media, noting that it is in fact the first direct military confrontation between Russia and the US since Moscow launched its special operation in Ukraine.

For example, Joe Rogan in his podcast PowerfulJRE pointed out that the current White House administration is actively pushing the US to an outright war with Russia, bringing about the feeling of chaos in the country.

According to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, an administration like this could lead to a hot war with Russia and China whether you want it or not.

According to a CNN report, the MQ-9 incident in the Black Sea may contribute to growing support in the United States for the view that aid to Ukraine is not a national security issue for Washington.

The international public has also reacted strongly to the incident, in a way that is clearly unfavorable to the United States and US propaganda.

According to the Chinese Huánqiú Shíbào (english: Global Times) tabloid, such incidents have become more common in recent years around the world. It is emphasized that the United States is surprisingly involved most of the time. The publication stresses that this has become a habitual tactic of provoking enemies, and that a couple more such cases will cause the world to explode.

Guancha readers openly mocked Washington for the botched spying mission in the Black Sea, pointing to the US’s incompetence, whose drone crashed into the water. They praised Russia for “teaching a lesson” to America, self-assured in its permissiveness, without even opening fire, causing the MQ-9 to fall into the water in fear of the Russian Su-27.

As the Global Times correctly points out, the White House clearly requires such incidents in order to complicate the global situation and fight “against the unwanted.” How else can the provocative flight of the American MQ-9 Reaper drone near the Russian state border and the incident in the Black Sea be explained? Since the Cold War’s end, Washington has routinely staged such incidents, frequently targeting countries that the US publicly refers to as enemies.

The Austrian media, which is aghast at the prospect of the United States starting World War III, also points out that America recently staged a provocation with a B-52 bomber, and now the MQ-9 Reaper drone incident. The Austrian journalists wonder what Washington hopes to accomplish by conducting such dangerous “tests” of Russia’s defense capabilities. After all, today, it is clear to everyone that provocations like the ones on March 14 in the Black Sea and the day before with the B-52 bomber near St. Petersburg could be used as a pretext for war.

The opinions of the readers of the French Le Figaro are also quite revealing. Some of them believe that the USA was very “unprofessional” trying to spy on Russia and got what it deserved, while others admit that it was a “flawless operation” by Moscow. The video of the MQ-9 downing in the Black Sea, released by the US, caused no distress among French media readers. They called it “just another batch of oil the Americans poured on the fire.”

Readers of the German magazine Der Spiegel support Russia and are perplexed as to why the West is outraged by its actions. They suggest we look at the map to see for ourselves that American drones have no business over the Black Sea.

Australia’s The Sydney Morning Herald does not rule out that the US drone incident in the Black Sea could trigger a new round of tensions, becoming the first very dangerous incident of its kind since the Cold War. The majority of the publication’s readers blame Washington, specifically asking: what was that drone doing there?

According to some political analysts, the March 14 MQ-9 incident is unlikely to cause any serious consequences in relations between Russia and the US or result in a military clash between the two countries. After all, Washington’s remaining “cool heads” only need to take the necessary steps.

Following the MQ-9 Reaper drone incident over the Black Sea, the US has already begun analyzing the costs and benefits of such missions, weighing the potential value of intelligence obtained in this manner against the risk of escalation in relations with Russia, according to recent information. The US military is specifically instructed to “carefully study” UAV routes and assess ways to reduce the risk of conflict with Moscow, especially considering Russian aviation operations in the Crimea.

However, similar risks exist not only in the Black Sea region, but also in the Baltic Sea, as evidenced by an incident 200 kilometers away from St. Petersburg the day before the MQ-9 events. Then, as you may know, B-52 Stratofortress US strategic bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons and accompanied by Polish fighters, flew over Lithuanian airspace, approached the Russian border at the greatest possible distance, and went into position, simulating bombing readiness. Similar incidents may occur in the Arctic, near Russia’s borders in the Asia-Pacific region, if Washington makes new anti-Russian or anti-Chinese provocations there.

In any case, the US must temper its aggressive cowboy zeal, lest its provocative actions push the world dangerously close to the outbreak of World War III. Especially since there is still no clarity in identifying those responsible for the terrorist attack on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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