Senator Mark Kelly has flown with Russian pilots in the Navy and with NASA, and he said the Russian fighter jet hitting a US drone shows “how incompetent they are”.
A US drone has crashed after a Russian fighter jet severed its propeller over the Black Sea last week.
A think tank suggested the move was an “aggressive message” from Russia.
Senator Mark Kelly, a former Navy fighter pilot, said it was an example of Russian incompetence.
Senator Mark Kelly has flown with Russian pilots as a US Navy combat pilot and as a NASA astronaut.
He said last week’s incident where a Russian fighter jet spilled fuel and then severed the propeller of a US military drone shows how “reckless” and “incompetent” they are.
“I’m not surprised by that. I mean, I’ve flown with Russian pilots, fighter pilots who couldn’t fly in formation. And I watched this video, and it’s pretty obvious what He lost sight of it, and he crashed in,” Kelly told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday.
On Tuesday, two Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted a US military MQ-9 Reaper drone flying over international waters over the Black Sea. The jets dumped fuel on the drone, and one jet eventually cut off the drone’s propeller. The drone eventually crashed into the water.
Insider previously reported that while a think tank analysis suggested it was an aggressive message from Russia, U.S. officials said the incident was most likely because the Russians didn’t know how to fly.
The incident further aggravated strained relations between Washington and the Kremlin since Russia invaded Ukraine last February.
Kelly compared the fighter jet incident to “the incompetence we see every day on the battlefield in Ukraine.”
“That’s why the losses for the Russians right now are really high. At this point, I mean, the best choice for Vladimir Putin would be to say, ‘Hey, that’s not working’, and he has to stop this. illegal activity invasion,” Kelly said.
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