On 14 March 2023, two SU-27 fighter jets of the Russian Air Force intercepted an American MQ-9 Reaper drone in international airspace over the Black Sea,

The Russian interceptors dumped fuel on the drone, which was flying under the command of the United States Military Forces in Europe (EuCom). The unmanned device lost control and crashed into the international waters of the Black Sea. According to the U.S. side, the drone went down because ‎one of the Russian jets struck the propeller - a claim that Russia denied.

From its headquarters in Germany, EuCom ordered its operators in Romania to destroy the drone. ‎

The U.S. and Russian armies are both actively searching for the debris of the spy drone. Moscow’s intention is not to recover the plans of the aircraft, since it has more efficient ones, but to gain access to the data logging.

In Washington, the State Department summoned Russian Ambassador Anatoli Antonov to protest what it considered to be the “unprofessional behavior” of the Russian pilots, while U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Lynne M. Tracy conveyed her country’s "strong objections" to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ‎

According to the Russian side, the U.S. drone was headed to the Russian border to collect information on targets inside Russia to be transmitted to the Ukrainian military. In the last weeks, a group of particularly well-informed Ukrainians carried out serious acts of sabotage in Russia.

According to the U.S. side, the drone was merely undertaking a “routine mission”.