Russia seeks no confrontation with US: envoy

Published March 15th, 2023 - 07:51 GMT
Russia seeks no confrontation with US: envoy
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A senior Russian diplomat said his country is not looking for trouble with Washington.

ALBAWABA - A senior Russian diplomat said his country is not looking for trouble with the United States, but rather seeks a "pragmatic cooperation" with it.

Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, spoke to reporters in Washington Tuesday as tensions with the United States climaxed over a Russian fighter jet downing a U.S. drone over the Black Sea hours earlier.

"Russia does not seek confrontation and stands for pragmatic cooperation in the interests of the peoples of our countries," Antonov said.

Relations between the two countries have already been tense over Russia's war on the Ukraine, which broke out a year ago. Washington insisted that the war as unjustified and said only Moscow can end it by ceasing fire and withdrawing troops from territory it seized in Ukraine.

Antonov said Moscow prefers to leave the door open for dialogue with Washington. "We believe it is important that the lines of communication should remain open."

U.S. Air Force General James Hecker, commander of US Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, said that a Russian Su-27 fighter jet collided with an American MQ-9 Reaper drone. "Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9," Hecker said.

The Reaper drone and two Russian Su-27 aircraft were flying over international waters, when one of the Russian jets intentionally flew in front of and dumped fuel on the unmanned drone multiple times, according to a statement released in Washington.

The Pentagon speculated that “reckless, unsafe, and unprofessional” actions of Russian military pilots caused the crash.

Antonov said he was summoned to the State Department, where "I categorically rejected all the insinuations of the US side."

"I explained the position of the Russian Federation," he said in comments posted on Telegram by the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

He said: "I stressed that the American UAV that was moving deliberately and provocatively towards the Russian territory with its transponders turned off violated the boundaries of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation, which was communicated to the all concerned users of international airspace in accordance with international norms."


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