Moment Russian jet crashes into US drone
Footage of what it described as a Russian aircraft conducting an unsafe intercept of a US Air Force surveillance drone in international airspace over the Black Sea has been shared by the Pentagon.
The 42-second video, released on Thursday, shows a Russian Su-27 approaching the back of the MQ-9 drone and beginning to release fuel as it passes, the Pentagon said.
Russian forces reached the site of the downed surveillance drone in the Black Sea on Wednesday, US officials told CNN, as the Kremlin vowed to recover it from deep water around 70 miles from Crimea.
And in a separate incident, a Russian aircraft was intercepted by RAF and German fighter jets near Estonian airspace in the first joint exercise between the two Nato allies.
Two British and German Typhoon jets were scrambled on Tuesday when a Russian air-to-air refuelling aircraft failed to communicate with Estonian air traffic control.
The UK Ministry of Defence stressed the “routine” nature of the mission, but it comes amid tensions between the West and Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
Video captures moment Russian fighter jet crashes into US drone
The American military said two Russian Su-27 jets intercepted the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper drone in international airspace before one of them struck the aircraft’s propeller, causing US forces to have to bring it down.
Russia denied involvement, with a senior figure describing the episode as a “provocation.”
My colleague Thomas Kinsgley has this breaking story:
Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 10:38
Poland detains ‘Russian spies preparing to sabotage weapons to Ukraine’
Polish security services have detained members of a Russian espionage ring, authorities said, alleging they were preparing acts of sabotage in Poland and had been monitoring railway lines used to transport weapons into Ukraine.
Interior minister Mariusz Kaminski said the Internal Security Agency had arrested nine people suspected of spying for Russia in the case.
He said at a news conference in Warsaw that the suspects were preparing “sabotage actions aimed at paralysing the supply of equipment, weapons and aid to Ukraine“.
He said the security agents also seized cameras, electronic equipment and GPS transmitters, which the suspects planned to place on shipments of aid to Ukraine.
Defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak suggested the group had entered from neighbouring Belarus, a Russian ally that borders Nato member Poland.
“The threat was real,” Mr Blaszczak said on state radio.
Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 11:12
Fire engulfs 400-year-old hotel ‘housing Ukrainian refugees’
A 400-year-old hotel that was said to be housing Ukrainian refugees was among buildings engulfed by a fire in Midhurst, West Sussex.
The fire was thought to have broken out shortly after 1am on Thursday at a property on North Street before spreading to the roof of the Angel Inn next door.
Local resident Hilton Holloway, who witnessed the fire, told the PA news agency around 30 people, including some children, were evacuated from the hotel.
Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 10:23
Best way to protect Moldova from attack is to protect Ukraine, says Cleverly
British foreign minister James Cleverly said on Thursday that the best way to protect Moldova from attack by Russia was to protect Ukraine.
Asked by reporters whether Britain planned on sending military support to Moldova, Cleverly said: “We strongly believe that one of the best ways of protecting Moldova from physical attack is helping the Ukrainians defend themselves against Russia.”
Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 09:57
Moscow regrets Moldova’s ‘unjustified prejudice’ against Russia
The Kremlin said on Thursday it regretted Moldova’s “unjustified prejudice” against Moscow, and that Russia remained open to good relations.
Moldova has been in focus since the start of the Ukraine conflict, with fears that the small country, which borders Ukraine and has Russian peacekeepers stationed in the pro-Moscow breakaway Transdniestria region, could be dragged into the conflict.
Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 09:30
More now from Denis Pushilin on the situation in Bakhmut…
The situation for Russian forces trying to capture the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut is “difficult”, because there are no signs Kyiv is ready to order a withdrawal of its troops, the Russian-installed leader of Ukraine‘s Donetsk region said on Thursday.
Russian forces – led by the private Wagner militia – have been trying to encircle and capture the eastern Ukrainian city for months in what has turned into one of the bloodiest battles of the year-long war.
Russia, which refers to the city by its Soviet-era name of Artyomovsk, says capturing the city will allow it to launch more offensives deeper into Ukrainian territory which it says it is fighting to “liberate”.
“The situation in Artyomovsk remains complex and difficult,” Denis Pushilin, the Russian-installed head of Ukraine‘s Donetsk region, said in an interview on state TV on Thursday.
“That is, we do not see that there is any premise that the enemy is going to simply withdraw units,” he added.
Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 09:04
Poland breaks up spy network, says defence minister
Poland has broken up a espionage network operating in the country, the defence minister said on Thursday, after private broadcaster RMF FM reported that a group of spies working for Russia had been detained.
RMF reported on Wednesday that Polish security services had detained six people suspected of spying for Russia. According to the broadcaster the group had been planning sabotage activities.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm the report.
“I would like to emphasize the great success achieved by the officers of the Internal Security Agency, because the whole spy network has been unravelled,” Mariusz Blaszczak told state broadcaster Polskie Radio 1.
“This is undoubtedly proof that the Polish services work for the security of our country in a very efficient manner.”
Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 08:35
No signs Ukraine is withdrawing troops from Bakhmut, says Russian-installed official
There are no signs that Ukraine is withdrawing troops from Bakhmut, the RIA Novosti news agency quoted the Russian-installed leader of Ukraine‘s Donetsk region as saying on Thursday.
Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 08:17
Zelensky marks first anniversary of Mariupol theatre bombing
Volodymyr Zelenskiy has posted to social media to mark the first anniversary of the Mariupol theatre bombing.
The Russian bombing of the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater in Mariupol on occurred on 16 March 2022.
In May last year, an Associated Press investigation shared evidence that the attack was in fact far deadlier than estimated, killing 600 people.
Mr Zelensky tweeted: “A year ago, Russia deliberately dropped a bomb on the Drama Theater in Mariupol. Next to it was the inscription “Children”, which was impossible to overlook. Hundreds of people were hiding there. We are working to hold the terrorist state to account for what it has done.”
Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 07:52
A nationwide air raid alert has been declared across Ukraine.
Live updates on alerts can be seen here:
Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 07:27