Russian ambassador says not interested in confrontation with U.S.
Anatoly Antonov told reporters that Russia is trying to engage in “pragmatic cooperation” with the United States
Moscow is not seeking a confrontation with Washington, the Russian ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday evening after a Russian fighter jet collided with a U.S. Air Force drone over the Black Sea.
Anatoly Antonov told reporters that Russia is trying to engage in “pragmatic cooperation” with the United States, but his “latest contacts with Department of State colleagues were limited solely to protest and negative signals to the Russian Federation.” His statements come after consultations at the U.S. State Department, where the envoy was summoned over the drone downing incident.
"I’ve mentioned that, and I said that the Russian side is not interested in confrontation. The Russian side is interested in a pragmatic relationship with the United States, for the benefit of the people of Russia and the United States," Antonov said, adding that "we view this incident as a provocation."
He also claimed that the Russian fighter jets "scrambled to identify the intruder did not use on-board weapons" and did not "come into contact" with the U.S. drone over international waters. The Russian envoy emphasized that “as we see it, American aircraft have no business being near the Russian border.”
"The American UAV deliberately and provocatively was moving towards Russian territory with transponders turned off," Antonov was quoted as saying in a communique.
U.S. officials have expressed “strong objections” to Russian diplomats over the incident. Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder called it “uncommon and unfortunate and unsafe.”