According to the US response to the developments, the unarmed MQ-9 surveillance drone was flying in international airspace when two Russian fighter jets shot it down in violation of international law. The Russian Defense Ministry denied that its aircraft had made contact with the US drone.
The details and reasons may be disputed, but this is what happened: On March 14, 2023, an American drone crashed into the Black Sea after an encounter with a Russian aircraft. According to the US response to the developments, the unarmed MQ-9 surveillance drone was flying in international airspace when two Russian fighter jets shot it down in violation of international law. The Russian Defense Ministry denied that its aircraft had made contact with the US drone.
Instead, Russia insisted that the drone was flying with its transponder in the direction of Russia’s borders, suggesting that Russia found the flight suspicious. In addition, Russia said, the US drone violated temporary boundaries Russia had established for its operations against Ukraine and crashed on its own. In light of Russia’s past misrepresentations about its military activities during the invasion of Ukraine, I view Russia’s claims with skepticism.
In addition, as someone who studies international law and formerly served as a lawyer advising on issues related to armed conflict at the US State Department, I can relate this episode to aircraft and aircraft in international airspace. I see this as highlighting the right of countries to operate drones – even if their purpose is to spy on another country. Showing Due Respect If the US side of the facts is correct, Russia has indeed violated international law by getting in the way of US drones.
Under Article 87 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, waters that are not territorial seas or exclusive economic zones of any country are open to all states. And any country has the freedom to fly in this area. The convention also states that this freedom shall be exercised by all countries with due respect for the interests of other countries in their exercise of the freedom of the high seas. The US is not a party to the treaty, which was signed in 1982 and currently has 168 countries as members, including Russia.
Nevertheless, the US recognizes many of its provisions as customary law; In fact, a major US naval handbook recognizes that aircraft of all nations are free to operate in international airspace without interference from other nations. As such, Russia violated international law when it failed to act with due respect for the US right to engage in freedom of overflight. In fact, according to the US, Russia directly interfered with that right.
And perhaps on this basis, the State Department spokesman called the downing of the drone a flagrant violation of international law. Any concerns from Russia that US drones could spy on its military operations will not change this conclusion. Freedom of overflight in international airspace includes the conduct of surveillance activities within the territory of another country, as long as the surveillance is carried out from within international airspace.
It therefore does not matter from the perspective of international law whether the US was using the AQ-9 to spy on military activity inside Russia or Russian-controlled Crimea. Aircraft in conflict zones Russia appears to believe that it was entitled to set limits for its special military operation in Ukraine and that the US disregarded those limits. Russia may refer here to a maritime exclusion zone that Russia established in February 2022 to restrict navigation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.
In general, the US considers such zones to be legitimate if their purpose is to direct neutral ships and aircraft away from conflict zones – they can play an important role in mitigating the risk that such ships are accidentally attacked. Go The US itself established a maritime security zone in the Mediterranean Sea in 2003 in connection with the invasion of Iraq. This is the reason why neutral ships and aircraft entering such areas do not become legitimate targets.
Russia would have a reasonable basis to use force against, or intervene against, a US drone only if it posed an imminent threat of an armed attack or was a legitimate military target during an armed conflict. For this to happen, the American drone would have to take a direct part in the hostilities, and it is known that the MQ-9 was unarmed. solid ground in the sky Assuming the US argument to be correct, this is not the first time that a country has unsafely interfered with a US surveillance aircraft and shot it down.
In 2001, a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US signals intelligence aircraft operating 70 miles off Hainan Island, China. The American plane was so damaged that it had to make an emergency landing on Hainan, while the Chinese fighter plane itself crashed. At the time, the US insisted that international law, including the due respect doctrine, allowed the US to conduct surveillance flights over China’s exclusive economic zone, which the US considered international airspace.
China took 24 American crew members into custody, demanding an apology from Washington. Since then, China has intercepted Australian and Canadian aircraft performing routine surveillance in international airspace, prompting similar complaints as the US is doing now. In both the case of China and the recent Black Sea incident, the US has adopted a consistent, widely shared position on the use of international airspace. As such, I believe it has solid grounds to object to Russia’s illegal actions.
Disclaimer:Prabhasakshi has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.