The US summoned the Russian ambassador after an American drone was forced down by a Russian jet in the Black Sea. Plus, Ukraine's President Zelenskyy said the future of the conflict depends on the Bakhmut battle.
The US said it summoned the Russian ambassador on Tuesday, after a Russian fighter jet forced down a US military "Reaper" surveillance drone over the Black Sea.
"We are summoning the Russian ambassador to the State Department," said Ned Price, the spokesman for the State Department.
Russian Defense Ministry said the American drone sharply maneuvered and crashed after an encounter with Russian jets near Russia's border, Russia's state news agency TASS reported.
The Ministry said Russian fighter jets didn't use weapons or impact a US drone that came down. It added fighters from its air defense forces on duty were in the air to identify the "intruder" over the Black Sea.
The US said that a Russian fighter jet struck the propeller of the surveillance drone in "brazen violation of international law."
The US Pentagon said the incident likely caused damage to the Russian aircraft, while the Russian Defense Ministry said its jet fighters had "returned safely to their home airfield."
US Air Force General James Hecker, who oversees the US Air Force in the region, said in a statement, "Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9."
The US military added the incident followed a pattern of dangerous behavior by Russian pilots operating near aircraft flown by the US and its allies, including over the Black Sea.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters they don't "need to have some sort of check-in with the Russians before we fly in international airspace. There's no requirement to do that nor do we do it."
The Black Sea lies between Europe and Asia and is bordered by Russia and Ukraine, among other countries.
The US military condemned the jet's "reckless" collision with the MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea. Kirby said the incident was "noteworthy because of how unsafe and unprofessional it was, indeed reckless that it was."
"The State Department will be speaking directly with their Russian counterparts, and expressing our concerns over this unsafe and unprofessional intercept," he added. President Joe Biden has been briefed on the matter as well.
Tuesday's incident appeared to mark the first time since the height of the Cold War that a US aircraft was brought down after being hit by a Russian warplane.