White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday that the United States will continue to operate aircraft in the Black Sea and will not be deterred by Russia’s interference of drones in international airspace. reports CNN. While he says such wiretapping is normal and has happened before in recent weeks, Kirby says Russia’s action on Tuesday was “irresponsible and unsafe.” He also said that President Joe Biden has been briefed on the incident.
Kirby said Tuesday that Russia will not succeed in preventing the United States from flying over the Black Sea. “If the message is that they want to block us or prevent us from flying and operating in international airspace over the Black Sea, that message will fail because it’s not going to happen,” he said.
“We will continue to fly and operate in international airspace above international seas,” he added. “The Black Sea does not belong to any country. And we will continue to do what we have to do for our national security interests in that part of the world,” he added.
Kirby has repeatedly described Russia’s interception of a U.S. drone as “unsafe” and “unprofessional,” a move that goes beyond previous Russian attempts to intercept U.S. aircraft.
He said the presence of US drones in the area is not new. “We have been flying in that airspace for a year straight,” he said, arguing that there was no reason to enforce Russia’s violated lines or notify Moscow before flying over the Black Sea. “We don’t need to do some kind of check-in with the Russians before we fly into international airspace,” he said.
Kirby said National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan briefed President Joe Biden on the incident between a U.S. drone and a Russian plane over the Black Sea. He said Russian aircraft’s interception of US aircraft over the Black Sea was “unusual” and said there had been other interceptions in recent weeks. But he said Tuesday’s episode was unique in how “unsafe, unprofessional and reckless” Russian actions were.
According to Kirby, US officials plan to contact Russia to express their concerns about the drone incident. “It is the State Department’s intention to reach out to Russian officials and express openly and directly our concerns regarding this incident,” Kirby said. He could not say whether this information happened. Kirby declined to speculate on the motives of the Russian pilots.
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