Picture taken in 1971, showing a nuclear explosion in Mururoa atollInternationalIndiaAfricaFollowing the March 14 American drone incident in the Black Sea, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina suggested that the American military should shoot down Russian jets if they get too close to US aircraft.Moscow would regard an American attack on Russian aircraft in neutral airspace as a declaration of war, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov warned.
“The calls of some legislators go beyond common sense. A deliberate attack on a Russian aircraft in neutral airspace is not just a crime according to international law, but also an open declaration of war against the largest nuclear power,” the envoy stressed.
The diplomat noted that a direct clash between Russia and the United States “would be radically different from the proxy war that the Americans are waging remotely against us in Ukraine.” The ambassador wondered whether the US legislators are ready to expose American citizens and the world community to the risk of a full-scale nuclear war.Senator Graham is notorious for his hawkish stance towards Russia. Speaking to conservative politcal commentator Sean Hannity, the lawmaker said that the US should down Russian aircraft after the drone episode. The UAV incident over the Black Sea occurred om March 14. The US European Command reported that a US surveillance MQ-9 Reaper drone had crashed and blamed the episode on a Russian SU-27 aircraft. However, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that the jets never came in contact with the drone nor did they use any airborne weapons on the UAV which was heading towards Russia’s border. The MoD stresses that the MQ-9 Reaper ended up falling into the Black Sea due to sharp maneuvering. Military experts note that the US account of the events, implying a collision with the Russian fighter jet, is unrealistic since the Su-27 would have suffered considerable damage.