Senator, former combat pilot says it’s not just Russian aggression that caused midair crash

Streaming HUBMarch 17, 2023

According to Sen. Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and Navy captain, the crash between a Russian fighter jet and an American drone was caused by the pilot’s aggression and “incompetence”.

“Look at the level of inefficiency — I mean when we saw the Flanker yesterday, which was basically a midair with the MQ-9. [drone]With Reaper … I spent 15 years in the astronaut office, I used to fly with Russian fighter pilots in the back seat of my plane,” said Kelly, D-AZ., Fox News’ chief political anchor and “special report with host Bret Baier” during an interview on Thursday. “The level of incompetence in the Russian pilots I flew with was shocking to me.”

Russia has denied that its plane hit a US drone, despite video evidence that the plane made at least two fly-bys, including one in which it dropped fuel on the drone before suddenly cutting off feed. Hua appeared, and the drone crashed. Black Sea.

On Friday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reportedly presented the pilots responsible for crashing the drone with state awards, saying the pilots had shot the drone “over the limits of the temporary airspace regime established for a special military operation”. Violated”, referred to the invasion. Of Ukraine.

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The ministry has insisted that the aircraft did not at any point touch the drone or use onboard weapons and “returned safely to its home airspace.”

US Central Command reported that it had observed more “unprofessional” and “unsafe” behavior from Russian pilots in Syria since 1 March.

The US European Command on Thursday released video of the March 14 collision of a Russian Su-27 fighter jet with an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea. A screenshot shows a jet dumping fuel.

The US European Command on Thursday released video of the March 14 collision of a Russian Su-27 fighter jet with an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea. A screenshot shows a jet dumping fuel. (US European Command)

However, Kelly, who flew 39 combat missions during Operation: Desert Storm, said during his interview with Brett Baier that such behavior does not surprise him based on his experience with Russian pilots.

“I think he was trying to connect and meet up with the MQ-9, maybe get some pictures of it, and he crashed into it,” Kelly argued. “What we see over and over again on the battlefield is this level of incompetence across all ranks, down to generals.”

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Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine and Strategy Consulting and a former Defense Intelligence Agency official, told Fox News Digital that the Russian pilots’ aggression was “by design” and part of a culture of “high risk tolerance and casualty tolerance” that covers the entire Russian army.

“With Putin in charge, who is highly risk-tolerant, the Russian military is even more aggressive, including pilots,” he said.

Senator, former combat pilot says it’s not just Russian aggression that caused midair crash

Democratic Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

She argued that Kelly’s assessment and suggestion of inefficiency made sense “by American standards”, but that the Russians would “never fight like the Americans” and would instead focus on long-term strategy.

“No one in the world even comes close to the tactical brilliance and superior training of the US military,” he said. “The question is: do better tactics win wars? Afghanistan has shown us that they do not.”

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“Putin is waging a war in Ukraine that is primarily land-based because Putin has realized that he cannot achieve a clear military victory in Ukraine,” she explained. “He is playing a long game to destroy the country. The Russians have three times more people than the Ukrainians to sacrifice in this war.”

Critics have long debated why Russia did not rely heavily on its air force during the Ukraine invasion, but Koffler said the strength of Ukraine’s air defenses, including its asymmetric use of anti-aircraft weapons such as the Stinger missile , has made it very difficult.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, are seen during the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 31, 2022. Putin has arrived in St Petersburg to review the main naval parade of over 50 military ships on Russia's Navy Day.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, are seen during the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 31, 2022. Putin has arrived in St Petersburg to review the main naval parade of over 50 military ships on Russia’s Navy Day. (Photo by Contributor / Getty Images)

“Whether they fight competently or incompetently by American standards, the war will continue because Putin’s definition of victory is the continuation of the conflict,” Koffler concluded.

Kelly urged the US to continue supporting Ukraine and oppose Russia, and he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of murdering women and children and committing war crimes.

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“We cannot allow Russia to defeat Ukraine, because I can guarantee you, they will be looking to the next country,” Kelly said, stressing the fact that Putin has repeatedly criticized the Soviet Union. Have discussed your desire to rebuild.

“At this critical moment for us to step back … to give [Putin] Instead of being successful in Ukraine – it would be a big strategic mistake for our country.”

Timothy HJ Nerozi of Fox News Digital

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