July 6 () –
The US Air Force has indicated that on Wednesday Russian warplanes harassed US drones in Syria, denouncing “unprofessional behavior” by Russia.
The commander of Central Command, Michael ‘Erik’ Kurilla, has stated that “Russian forces continue to display unsafe and unprofessional behavior in the air”: “Their regular violation of agreed measures to eliminate conflicts in airspace increases the risk of escalation or miscalculation”.
The incident took place around 10:40 a.m. (local time), when three Russian warplanes “began to harass” three US drones that were “carrying out a mission against Islamic State targets.”
“Contrary to established rules and protocols, Russian fighters have parachuted multiple flares in front of drones, forcing our aircraft to perform evasive maneuvers,” reads a statement from the US Central Air Force Command.
The letter, signed by General Alex Grynkewic, also states that a Russian pilot has placed his aircraft in front of one of the drones, activating the post-combustion system — additional fuel injection process into the chamber in which they “reheat” exhaust gases–, “thus reducing the operator’s ability to operate the aircraft safely.”
“These events represent another example of unprofessional and unsafe actions by the Russian Air Force operating in Syria, threatening the security of both US and Russian forces,” Grynkewich said.
In this sense, he has urged the Russian forces in Syria to “cease this reckless behavior and adhere to the standards of behavior expected of a professional air force so that we can resume our focus on the lasting defeat of the Islamic State.”