SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. –
“Russian military aircraft engaged in unsafe and unprofessional behavior Thursday, 9:30 A.M. local time, while interacting with U.S. MQ-9 drones carrying out our D-ISIS mission in Syria. Russian aircraft dropped flares in front of the drones and flew dangerously close, endangering the safety of all aircraft involved.
This is the second instance of dangerous behaviors by Russian pilots within the past 24 hours, with the first happening Wednesday at approximately 10:40 A.M. local time. In that instance, Russian jets launched parachute flares at the drones and traveled dangerously close to the drones, forcing U.S. pilots to perform evasive maneuvers.
These events represent another example of unprofessional and unsafe actions by Russian air forces operating in Syria, which threaten the safety of both Coalition and Russian forces. We urge Russian forces in Syria to cease this reckless behavior and adhere to the standards of behavior expected of a professional air force so we can resume our focus on the enduring defeat of ISIS.
The U.S. Air Forces Central remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of its personnel and assets and continues to work closely with partners and allies to address these incidents and prevent any escalation of tensions in the region. The safety of military personnel and the success of the mission against ISIS depend on the professional and responsible conduct of all forces operating in the region."
- Attributed to Lt Gen Alex Grynkewich, Commander, 9th AF (AFCENT) and Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) for CENTCOM.