Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said the United States does not know if the Russian fighter jet intentionally hit the American drone over the Black Sea.
This is something officials are looking into, he said at a news conference Wednesday, adding that he has a call scheduled with his Russian counterpart to discuss that point, among other things.
“We know that the intercept was intentional, we know that the aggressive behavior was intentional, we also know it was very unprofessional and very unsafe,” Milley said.
As for the physical contact between the jet and drone “that remains to be seen.”
However, Milley said the US has “absolute evidence of the contact and the intercept.”
US officials have said two Russian jets dumped fuel on the US MQ-9 drone Tuesday in international airspace. Then, one jet “struck our MQ-9 aircraft, resulting in a crash,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
Russia has denied that it had direct contact with the drone.
“There’s no question that that part of its intentional,” Milley said, referring to the jets dumping fuel on the drone. “The actual physical contact of the aircraft, that I’m not so sure.”