Day 568 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russian Pilot tried to Shoot Down British Spy Plane over the Black Sea

World » UKRAINE | September 14, 2023, Thursday // 10:56
Bulgaria: Day 568 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russian Pilot tried to Shoot Down British Spy Plane over the Black Sea

Day 568 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • BBC: Russian pilot tried to shoot down British spy plane over the Black Sea
  • Musk gives Pentagon Starlink satellites over Ukraine and the Black Sea
  • Ukraine: Any extension of import bans is illegal
  • Russia expels two American diplomats
  • Ukraine and Russia have reported massive drone attacks
  • Explosions and in Yevpatoria, VSU destroyed an air defense system
  • 'Send more tanks to Ukraine': Wounded German volunteer appeals to authorities in Berlin
  • British MoD: Russia is sending a new army to Ukraine earlier than planned
  • Lukashenko is an accomplice in genocide! The European Parliament wants an arrest warrant for him as well
  • Vladimir Putin accepts invitation from Kim Jong Un to visit North Korea
  • US: We will impose new sanctions if Russia and North Korea make new arms deals

BBC: Russian pilot tried to shoot down British spy plane over the Black Sea

A Russian pilot tried to shoot down a reconnaissance plane of the Royal Air Force of Great Britain, believing that he had permission to shoot - reports the BBC, citing its own information. The case is from last September.

The pilot fired two missiles, the first of which missed the target rather than malfunctioning as was claimed at the time. Russia has claimed that the incident was caused by a "technical malfunction".

The British Ministry of Defense's public position has been that it accepts Russia's explanation.

But three senior Western defense sources familiar with the matter have told the BBC that Russian communications intercepted by the British Royal Air Force's Boeing RC-135 spy plane give very different information to the official version.

The RAF aircraft, with a crew of 30, was on a surveillance mission over the Black Sea in international airspace on September 29, 2022, when it encountered two Russian Su-27 fighter jets.

The intercepted communication shows that one of the Russian pilots believed he had been given permission to intercept the British plane, following an ambiguous command from the Russian ground station. The second Russian pilot objected. He objected and even scolded his colleague when he fired the first rocket.

The UK Ministry of Defense will not publish details of this communication. In response to the revelations by British public media, a spokesman for the ministry said: "Our intention has always been to protect the security of our operations, to avoid unnecessary escalation and to inform the public and the international community."

What really happened

As the two Russian Su-27s approached the spy plane, they received a message from their ground control station.

A Western source told the BBC that the words they received meant "you have the target". The ambiguous wording was understood by one pilot as permission to fire.

The looser use of words appears to indicate a high degree of unprofessionalism on the part of those involved, the source said. In contrast, NATO pilots use very precise words when asking for and receiving permission to fire.

The Russian pilot launched an air-to-air missile which he successfully fired but failed to lock onto its target, the BBC has learned. It was an oversight, not a failure.

Defense sources have also told the BBC that then a scandal broke out between the two pilots. The pilot of the second Su-27 was convinced that they had not been given permission to fire. He allegedly swore at his colleague and asked him what he thought he was doing. However, the first pilot launched a second missile. The information received by the media is that it simply fell from the wing, suggesting that the weapon was malfunctioning or that the launch was aborted.

How the British MoD is reporting what happened

Three weeks later, the British government confirmed the incident - after an explanation from the Russian Ministry of Defense, which called it a "technical malfunction". In a statement to MPs on October 20, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace described it as "potentially dangerous". But he accepted the Russian explanation, saying: "We do not consider this incident to be a deliberate escalation by the Russians and our analysis assumes that it was due to a malfunction."

What does the US say?

However, a leak of classified intelligence information shows that the US military is talking about what happened much more categorically. In a series of documents published online by US airman Jack Teixeira, the same incident was described as a "near miss". "The incident was much more serious than initially presented and could amount to an act of war," wrote the New York Times.

According to two US military officials quoted by the newspaper, the Russian pilot misinterpreted an order from the ground. The newspaper quoted an unnamed US official as describing the incident as "really, really scary".

In response to the leaked "near-shootdown" claim, the UK Ministry of Defense issued a statement that added more fog than clarity, the BBC notes. It claims that "a significant portion of the content of these reports [from the documents] is false, manipulated or both".

Why the secrecy?

There may be several reasons why the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom does not want to give full details - the British media reasoned. First, the UK would not like to disclose the extent of intelligence gathering and details of intercepted communications. More importantly, neither side wants an escalation — one that could potentially draw a NATO member into a military confrontation with Russia. But the incident shows once again how one mistake and misjudgment by one person can spark a wider conflict.

The Ministry of Defense told the BBC that "this incident is a stark reminder of the potential consequences of Putin's barbaric invasion of Ukraine."

This is not the first time a reckless Russian pilot has targeted a NATO aircraft in international airspace. In March earlier this year, a Russian jet shot down an American unmanned surveillance drone that was also flying over the Black Sea. In that incident, the Russian pilot was awarded a medal, but most experts agree that this was due to luck rather than skill.

It highlights serious questions about the discipline and professionalism of the Russian Air Force.

Despite being almost shot down, the RAF continued to fly surveillance flights over the Black Sea. Since the incident, these RAF observation flights have been escorted by Typhoon fighters armed with air-to-air missiles.

The UK is the only NATO ally to conduct manned missions over the Black Sea.

Musk gives Pentagon Starlink satellites over Ukraine and the Black Sea

Elon Musk has decided to give the US military control over part of the Starlink satellite communications systems used by Kyiv. This was announced by the writer and journalist Walter Isaacson, who is the author of the businessman's biography.

According to him, Musk previously expressed a desire to distance himself from the conflict in Ukraine. He is said to have emphasized:

"I created Starlink so people could relax, watch Netflix and play video games. I didn't want to create something that could start a nuclear war."

"What he did, and what I think was the right move, is he decided to sell off and hand over full control of a certain amount of Starlink equipment, Starlink services, to the Pentagon," Isaacson told The Washington Post.

Musk has come under fire in the US in recent days after it emerged that he secretly ordered the Starlink network shut down to prevent Ukraine from attacking Russian warships off the coast of Crimea. On this occasion, the US Congress is considering an investigation into the actions of businessman Elon Musk in Ukraine at the initiative of US Senator Elizabeth Warren from the Democratic Party.

"Congress needs to investigate what happened and find out if we have adequate tools to ensure that foreign policy is run by the government and not by a billionaire," Warren said.

An interesting detail about this story is revealed by the publication Business Insider. According to their post, Elon Musk was misled by Russia's ambassador to the US, Antonov, into thinking that Russia would launch a nuclear strike on Ukraine if it attacked targets in Crimea.

The fact is that when Musk learned that the Starlink satellites were being used to control unmanned aerial vehicles, he was on the phone with officials, including Antonov, who convinced Musk that an attack on Sevastopol would trigger a nuclear strike by Russia in accordance with the country's military doctrine, writes Business Insider.

Just a day ago, on the night of September 13, Ukraine delivered a powerful attack on the military ship repair plant in Sevastopol, Crimea. It was a strike that, according to Musk, would trigger a nuclear war, and so far there are no indications of such an escalation.

The owner of SpaceX, Tesla, Hyperloop, Social Network "X" and Starlink said a few days ago that he did not restrict the Ukrainian military's access to Starlink in the Russian-annexed Crimea region, as it was not activated in that region.

"The Starlink regions in question have not been activated. SpaceX has not deactivated anything," the tycoon wrote on his Twitter account (now called "X").

He added that the Ukrainian authorities sent him an urgent request to activate Starlink "all the way to Sevastopol", but he refused to do so.

"It is clear that the goal was to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor. If I had agreed to their request, SpaceX would have been involved in a major act of war and an escalation of the conflict," Musk said.

He also commented that the two countries should reach a peace agreement because every day young people die to win back or lose a small piece of land, and it is not worth the loss of human lives.

A day ago, CNN reported that, according to unconfirmed information, Musk had secretly ordered the shutdown of Starlink satellites off the coast of Crimea in 2022 to prevent the Ukrainian military from attacking the Russian navy. When Ukrainian underwater drones loaded with explosives approached Crimea, contact with them was lost and they washed ashore without causing damage, according to Musk biographer Walter Isaacson.

Ukraine: Any extension of import bans is illegal

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that any decision by European countries to extend restrictions on imports of Ukrainian food after September 15 would be illegal and would harm common economic interests, Reuters reported.

The restrictions imposed by the European Union in May allowed Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia to ban Ukrainian wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds from entering their markets, while allowing transit of such cargoes to other countries.

The bans, designed to ease market glut, expire on Friday. A decision by the European Commission is awaited. However, three of the five affected countries (Poland, Hungary and Slovakia) said they would impose unilateral restrictions.

Today, Bulgaria decided to lift the ban on Ukrainian grain imports.

Russia expels two American diplomats

Russia announced today that it is expelling two US diplomats accused of being "liaison" agents for a former Russian official. He was arrested at the beginning of the year and suspected of passing information about the conflict in Ukraine to the US.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the two diplomats wgi were declared persona non grata are the first and second secretaries of the American Embassy in Moscow, Jeffrey Silin and David Bernstein.

Ukraine and Russia have reported massive drone attacks

Ukraine and Russia have both reported massive drone attacks over the past 24 hours. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that defense and security remain a priority in next year's budget

Russia launched six groups of Shahed drones against various targets in Ukraine, an air alert was declared tonight in Kherson, Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts. Explosions were heard in Dnieper, reported the General Staff of Kyiv.

The Ukrainian army continues its counteroffensive in the east, Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Maliar emphasized. According to her, the fiercest fighting is in the area of the towns of Avdiivka and Marinka. Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian side has repelled 10 Russian attacks near Marinka. The village of Robotyne in southeastern Ukraine is fully under Kyiv's control, but there is serious fighting in the area, Malyar also said.

The Russian army said it destroyed several Ukrainian drones in the border regions of Bryansk and Belgorod. There are no reports of casualties. Traffic on the Kerch bridge connecting the annexed Crimean peninsula with Russia has been suspended. No reasons were given for the suspension.

Explosions and in Yevpatoria, VSU destroyed an air defense system

Early this morning, powerful explosions erupted in Yevpatoria on the Ukrainian peninsula occupied by Russian invaders. Local residents reported that the attack was carried out by drones.

"Subscribers write to us that they probably hit an anti-aircraft defense system. They also report that drones continue to come. The blast wave in Yevpatoria shook many homes," writes the Crimean Wind Telegram channel.

Footage of a powerful explosion in the southwestern part of the city was also published. The main, brightest explosion is said to have been at 05:40 a.m.

At 7:27 a.m., the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that around 5:30 a.m. air defense forces destroyed "11 Ukrainian drones" over Crimea.

This is another blow by the Ukrainian defense against the Russians in Crimea. Just a day ago, the Ukrainian Armed Forces launched a heavy attack with cruise missiles against the military ship repair plant in Sevastopol. As a result of the attack, damages were inflicted not only on the territory of the plant, but also on the submarine "Rostov on Don" and the large landing ship "Minsk", which were in dry dock at the plant. The authoritative monitoring project Oryx, after analyzing the photos, announced that the damage to "Minsk" was so severe that it was beyond repair and should be considered destroyed, not damaged.

'Send more tanks to Ukraine': Wounded German volunteer appeals to authorities in Berlin

A German aid worker who survived a Russian missile strike on his convoy in eastern Ukraine has asked Berlin to send more tanks to Kyiv.

Speaking from his hospital bed near the front line in the eastern Donbas region, Ruben Mavic called on the German government to "send more than anything," the Telegraph reported.

"Send more tanks to the Ukrainian army, send more supplies. This war is not over, far from over," he said.

Mavic was traveling with three colleagues from the NGO Road to Relief on Monday near Bakhmut when their vehicle was hit by a Russian shell. The impact caused the car to overturn and burst into flames.

Among the survivors is a 20-year-old Swedish humanitarian worker, UNIAN reported.

The young man explains that he volunteers in Ukraine because "he needs to fight injustice".

"I hope I don't become disabled, I hope I get my hearing back," he added.

The man's call for Berlin to step up its support comes after critics repeatedly accused the German government of being too slow to provide key weapons to Kyiv.

During German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock's visit to the Ukrainian capital this week, her counterpart Dmitry Kuleba pushed for the delivery of Taurus cruise missiles, saying he could not understand why "time is being wasted".

Domestic opponents have also called on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to supply Kyiv with German-made projectiles that have a range of more than 300 miles and are launched from fighter jets. However, Scholz refrained from doing so, making it clear that Berlin would only act together with Washington on arms supplies.

British MoD: Russia is sending a new army to Ukraine earlier than planned

Russia has deployed parts of its new army in Ukraine much earlier than planned, DPA reported, referring to the daily war bulletin of the British Ministry of Defense, distributed on the social network "X" (until recently "Twitter").

The agency notes that this appears to be due to the exhaustion of Russian troops, as Ukraine's counteroffensive is being waged on three fronts.

The troops appear to have been rushed into action earlier than planned, in part because Russia is trying to overcome the problem of depleted forces and Ukraine is continuing its counteroffensive on three different fronts, the bulletin said.

Recruitment ads for Russia's 25th Army claimed that the force would not be deployed to Ukraine until December.

But according to the British Ministry of Defense, it is now "highly likely" that the first units of this army are already initially located in Ukraine and deployed in the occupied Luhansk region.

There is a "realistic possibility" that Russia could use parts of the new army "to restore uncommitted reserve forces in the theater of operations to provide commanders with greater operational flexibility," the British ministry added.

Russia calls the daily bulletin of the British Ministry of Defense on the progress of the war disinformation.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said today that Russian forces in Ukraine are actively defending themselves and that Moscow has no choice but to win, Reuters reported.

Shoigu said this in an interview with the Russian state television Rossiya-1, in connection with the ongoing counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces.

"Our forces are actively defending themselves in the necessary directions in Ukraine. In some places it is more difficult, in other places, it is easier," the Russian military minister pointed out.

"I can say that the guys and their commanders are acting confidently. We reliably defend what we need to defend - those places where the Ukrainian armed forces are trying to make a breakthrough," Sergei Shoigu also said.

The main task is to disable the enemy's weaponry, the minister noted.

Asked if Russia would win, Shoigu replied: "We have no other choice."

Lukashenko is an accomplice in genocide! The European Parliament wants an arrest warrant for him as well

The European Parliament has named Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko as the culprit of the war against Ukraine along with Vladimir Putin and is calling on the International Criminal Court to issue a warrant for his arrest.

MEPs voted a resolution "On relations with Belarus". It recalls the full list of crimes of the Belarusian regime, ranging from incitement to hatred and participation in Russian anti-Ukrainian propaganda to direct support for the Russian military, including authorization to attack Ukraine from the territory of Belarus and direct supplies of ammunition and military equipment.

"The Lukashenko regime must be held accountable for complicity in the crime of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide committed against Ukraine," the document said.

In line with this, EU member states are invited to seek legal ways to seize the financial assets of the Belarusian leadership and relevant enterprises in order to direct them, if possible, to the recovery of Ukraine.

A separate section of the resolution is dedicated to the criminal deportation of more than 2,150 children from Ukraine to Belarus. The European Parliament holds Lukashenko responsible for these war crimes, as well as Vladimir Putin and the Commissioner for Children's Rights under the President of the Russian Federation, Maria Lvova-Belova, and calls on the International Court of Justice to issue a similar international arrest warrant for Lukashenko.

The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, himself announced that he would help the Russian occupiers to abduct Ukrainian children from parts of eastern Ukraine.

More than 2,000 children were taken from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Minsk, where they were then distributed to special camps. According to the Wall Street Journal, the little Ukrainians were brought to the Belarusian capital by train, and they were already distributed to the camps by buses of the Shakhtyor Soligorsk football team. It belongs to the general director of "Belaruskali" Ivan Golovaty.

Vladimir Putin accepts invitation from Kim Jong Un to visit North Korea

Following their first face-to-face summit in four years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation from Kim Jong Un to visit North Korea, Al Jazeera reported.

North Korea's Kim is in Russia's Far East as Putin seeks to strengthen ties in the midst of Russia's protracted conflict in Ukraine, in addition to advancing his nation's military modernization.

After more than four hours of discussions and a visit to the Vostochny Cosmodrome space center, he extended the offer to Putin at "a convenient time" at a reception to mark the end of the day.

Putin accepted the invitation with pleasure and reaffirmed his will to invariably carry forward the history and tradition of the Russia-DPRK friendship,” Al Jazeera reported North Korean state news agency KCNA as saying on Thursday.

As a result of the talks in Russia, there is a worry not only in the US but also internationally that Kim may be prepared to supply Moscow with weapons for its conflict in Ukraine in exchange for technology that would help him advance his military objectives.

In addition, the North Korean leader is anticipated to go to Vladivostok to see Russia's Pacific fleet and stop by an aviation factory. The director of the nation's weapons department, the defense minister, and the top military commander are all members of Kim's entourage.

The two leaders also agreed to further strengthen strategic and tactical cooperation amid “military threats, provocations and tyranny of imperialists,” Al Jazeera reported citing KCNA.

While speaking to reporters, Putin lauded the "strengthening of cooperation and friendship between our countries" and informed them that he saw "possibilities" for military cooperation with North Korea. Involved in the negotiations was Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who in July attended celebrations in Pyongyang honoring the armistice that put a stop to hostilities in the 1950–1953 Korean War on its 70th anniversary.

North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles just before Putin and Kim's meeting, the most recent in a series of tests that violated UN sanctions that forbid such actions.

According to US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, it is "troubling" that Russia is considering working with North Korea on projects that may go against UN Security Council resolutions.

Yoko Kamikawa, Japan's newly appointed foreign minister, issued a similar caution against "violations" of UN resolutions.

The resolutions, which were supported by Russia, prohibit the development of technologies that might be applied to North Korea's ballistic missile programs.

Additionally, they forbid any technical and scientific collaboration with North Korea in the fields of nuclear science and engineering, aerospace and aeronautical engineering, or advanced manufacturing production processes, Al Jazeera reported.

US: We will impose new sanctions if Russia and North Korea make new arms deals

US President Joe Biden's administration will not hesitate to impose additional sanctions on Russia and North Korea if they conclude any new arms deals with each other, the US State Department said today, as quoted by Reuters.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller made the warnings at a news conference in response to questions from reporters about the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"We have already taken a number of actions to sanction organizations that broker arms deals between North Korea and Russia, and we will not hesitate to take additional actions if necessary," Miller said.

According to the spokesman, it is a cause for concern that Russia and North Korea are discussing broader cooperation that could violate UN Security Council resolutions.

"If you look at what appears to be enhanced cooperation and a likely arms exchange, it's very troubling and would potentially violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions," Miller summarized.

Novinite is still the only Bulgarian media that publishes a summary of events and highlights related to the conflict, every single day. Our coverage began on day one - 24.02.2022 and will not stop until the war has concluded. Despite the pressure, our independent media will continue to provide its readers with accurate and up-to-date information. Thank you for your support! #stayinformed

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