The Defense Ministry of Russia announced that the fighter pilots involved in an incident with a U.S. drone resulting in its crash will be given state awards. This move seems to signal Moscow’s desire to adopt a more aggressive stance towards future U.S. surveillance flights. The U.S. military reported that it ditched the Air Force MQ-9 Reaper in the Black Sea on Tuesday after a couple of Russian fighter jets dumped fuel on the surveillance drone, and then one of them struck its propeller while it was flying in international airspace. On Friday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu praised the pilots for preventing the drone from flying into the area that Moscow has banned for flights. The Kremlin pointed out that the ban was “in line with international norms.” The incident comes amid rising tensions between Moscow and Washington. Moscow has repeatedly expressed apprehension about U.S. intelligence flights over Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and has complained that the U.S. and its allies are providing weapons to Kyiv and sharing intelligence with them.

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