Russia’s war in Ukraine. Black Sea

US won’t stop flying over the Black Sea, White House official says

From CNN’s Kevin Liptak. Russia’s war in Ukraine. Black Sea

The US will continue operating over the Black Sea and won’t be deterred by Russia’s intercept of a drone in international airspace, a White House official said Tuesday.

“If the message is that they want to deter or dissuade us from flying and operating in international airspace, over the Black Sea, then that message will fail, because that is not going to happen,” said John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council.

“We are going to continue to fly and operate in international airspace over international waters,” he added. “The Black Sea belongs to no one nation. And we’re going to continue to do what we need to do for our national security interests in that part of the world.”

Kirby repeatedly described the Russian intercept of the American drone as “unsafe” and “unprofessional,” suggesting the actions went beyond previous Russian efforts at intercepting US aircraft.

He said the presence of American drones in the area was not new.

“We have been flying consistently over that airspace or a year,” he said, arguing there was no reason to activate deconfliction lines with Russia or otherwise notify Moscow before flying over the Black Sea.

“We don’t need to have some sort of check-in with the Russians before we fly in international airspace,” he said.

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