ination” with its allies to respond to Russia’s actions in the Black Sea region.
Here’s what you need to know to get up to speed:
What happened with the US drone?
A US MQ-9 Reaper drone was flying in international airspace over the Black Sea when it was targeted by Russian jets. The Russian Su-27 jet dumped fuel on the drone several times before hitting it, causing damage and forcing US officials to crash it into the water.
What is Russia’s response?
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the United States of “ignoring” the airspace restrictions that Russia imposed in the coastal regions of the Black Sea since the start of the war with Ukraine. Lavrov also blamed the US for “constantly looking for provocations aimed at increasing tensions.”
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told his US counterpart, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, that the incident was “caused by the US actions of non-compliance with the flight restriction zone declared by the Russian Federation” established in connection with the special military operation in the region.
What is the US response?
US officials have condemned Russia’s actions as “aggressive, risky and unsafe.” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the incident is part of a pattern of such behavior from Russia. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US is investigating the incident and working with its allies to respond to Russia’s actions in the region.
What is the background to the conflict?
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine began in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. Since then, fighting has continued in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists. The situation in the Black Sea region has been tense, with Russia imposing restrictions on airspace and naval movements.
The incident with the US drone is the latest in a series of provocations and tensions between Russia and the US in the region.
As the situation continues to develop, it remains to be seen what actions the US and its allies will take in response to Russia’s actions.
US drone intercepted by Russian fighter jet over Black Sea
A US MQ-9 Reaper drone was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 jet while flying in international airspace over the Black Sea. The Russian jet dumped fuel on the drone several times before hitting it, causing damage and forcing US officials to crash it into the water. The US Air Force primarily uses the MQ-9 drone for intelligence gathering. Sensitive software on the drone was remotely erased before it crashed to prevent Russia from collecting secret information. The drone fell into very deep water, making recovery efforts difficult. The US will work with allies in the area to try to recover it, while Russian officials have said they will also try to get to the wreckage to study it.
Russian response and US officials’ evidence
The Kremlin said relations between Russia and the US are at their “lowest point” and in a “deplorable state,” following the drone’s downing. Moscow denied its fighter jets came into contact with the US drone. However, US officials have “absolute evidence” that the two aircraft came into contact, but are not sure if it was intentional. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley reiterated that “the aggressive behavior was intentional.” Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov denied all accusations against Russia after being summoned to the State Department.
Other key headlines from the war
In a city still seeing intense fighting, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin applauded the “valor” and the “persistence” of the Ukrainian soldiers fighting in Bakhmut. Less than 3,000 people, including 33 children, remain in the embattled city. A soldier from Ukraine’s 93rd Mechanized Brigade destroyed a Russian jet over Bakhmut on Wednesday, according to a commander.
Why this matters
The interception of the US drone by a Russian fighter jet over the Black Sea highlights the ongoing tensions between the two countries. The incident has further strained relations between Russia and the US, which are already at a low point. The recovery of the drone and the study of its wreckage by both sides could have significant implications for future military operations and intelligence gathering. Meanwhile, the fighting in Bakhmut underscores the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the bravery of its soldiers in the face of adversity.
rd Mechanized Brigade had destroyed two Russian Su-25 jets in the same area. However, the Ukrainian military has not yet provided evidence to support this claim.
Russian shelling kills two in Dnipropetrovsk region
Russian shelling has killed at least two people and injured five others in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region on Wednesday, according to Serhii Lysak, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration. The victims were two women aged 62 and 57 who were killed in the city of Marhanets. A man and three women were hospitalized, and another injured woman will be treated on an outpatient basis. More than a dozen multistory buildings and several private houses in Marhanets were damaged in the shelling.
Less than 3,000 people remain in Bakhmut
Less than 3,000 people, including 33 children, remain in the embattled city of Bakhmut, according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration. Evacuation is mandatory in the region, but some people still refuse to leave. Kyrylenko said, “There are still people who definitely do not want to leave, and it is a very difficult task to persuade them. More than 1,100,000 people out of 1,670,000 have left Donetsk region since February 24, 2022.”
Russian movement around Bakhmut
Russia is making “small tactical advances” around the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, but “at great cost,” according to General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Milley has warned that a Russian capture of Bakhmut would give them an “open road” to capturing other key Ukrainian cities in the east. Meanwhile, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said his fighters have captured a small settlement north of Bakhmut earlier on Wednesday. Prigozhin also acknowledged that a small number of Afghan fighters are working with the private military company.
Ukrainian forces destroy Russian Su-25 jet over Bakhmut
A soldier from Ukraine’s 93rd Mechanized Brigade destroyed a Russian Su-25 jet over Bakhmut, according to a commander. This announcement comes after the head of Ukraine’s President’s Office, Andriy Yermak, claimed earlier Wednesday that forces from the 93rd Mechanized Brigade had destroyed two Russian Su-25 jets in the same area. However, the Ukrainian military has not yet provided evidence to support this claim.
In conclusion, the situation in Bakhmut remains tense as Russia continues to make small tactical advances around the city. The evacuation of civilians is mandatory, but some still refuse to leave. Ukrainian forces have claimed to have destroyed a Russian Su-25 jet over Bakhmut, but evidence to support this claim has not yet been provided. The international community continues to monitor the situation closely as tensions between Ukraine and Russia remain high.
Ukrainian forces claim to have destroyed Russian military equipment and radar systems
According to Commander Oleksandr Syrskyi of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russian military has been attempting to surround the city and advance, but the soldiers of the 93rd Brigade, along with other defenders, have been holding back the enemy’s fierce pressure. The Ukrainian forces have managed to blow up enemy tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, MLRS, and ammunition depots. The Russian occupiers are also putting pressure on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, but soldiers from the 92nd Brigade have managed to destroy Russian radar systems and command centers in those directions. However, CNN has been unable to confirm the Ukrainian claims.
Russian ambassador to US denies all accusations against Russia following drone incident
From CNN’s Katharina Krebs
The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, denied all accusations against Russia after being summoned to the US State Department in connection with the downing of a US Reaper drone on Tuesday. Antonov said he was invited to the State Department to talk with Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Karen Donfried. Antonov was summoned to “convey our strong objections,” department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday.
“For 15 minutes we spoke directly about this issue and for the other 15 minutes we talked about Russian concerns regarding various aspects of US activity,” Antonov said in an interview with Russian state TV Rossiya-1.
The conversation was “very calm” and “respectful” and “I categorically denied all accusations against the Russian armed forces,” he added.
“No one hit the table with a shoe, threatening something,” he said.
US General says downed drone is “no longer” of intelligence value
From Haley Britzky
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday that the downed MQ-9 Reaper drone intercepted by Russian aircraft on Tuesday is “no longer” of intelligence value. Milley said, “(I)t probably broke up, probably not a lot to recover, frankly.” He also stated that the US has taken mitigating measures to ensure the loss of anything of sensitive intelligence is not a concern. The US knows where the drone landed in the Black Sea, and it is likely four to five thousand feet under the surface, which would make recovery operations “very difficult” for anyone. The US does not have any naval surface vessels in the Black Sea at the moment, but Milley said, “we’ll work up options.” He added, “We’ll work through recovery operations, that’s US property, and we’ll leave it at that at this point.”
Wagner’s Head Confirms Small Number of Afghan Fighters Working with Military Group
By Radina Gigova and Olga Voitovych
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the private military company Wagner, has confirmed that a small number of Afghan fighters are working with the group in Ukraine. He also revealed that Wagner now has an artillery unit.
“The Afghan fighters of the Wagner PMC are working with us in small numbers,” Prigozhin said in a statement published by his holding company, Concord.
However, CNN has not been able to independently verify these claims.
Background: In March, Prigozhin denied that there were any Serbian nationals among the Wagner fighters in Ukraine, after Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic accused Wagner of trying to recruit Serbs to fight in Ukraine.
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