An unknown drone approached the plane of the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu over Europe, reports the Russian newspaper Izvestia, citing Serbian military and diplomatic sources.
The Minister’s plane was in Kosovo airspace at the time of the incident. The UAV approached the aircraft at an approximate distance of at least 150 km.
Several MiG-29s of the Serbian Air Force were scrambled to intercept the UAV in case it was required.
The drone passed along the border between Serbia and Kosovo, but did not cross it.
According to Izvestia, the drone turned out to be the MQ-9 Reaper or RQ-4 Global Hawk drone. Such drones were seen, in particular, in the sky over Ukraine and over the Baltic Sea, near the borders of the Russian Federation. The RQ-4 drones in Europe belong to the U.S. Armed Forces.
These drones can conduct radio-technical reconnaissance at a range of up to 400 km, and are capable of intercepting air control communications. Izvestia states that Russian conventional and strategic nuclear forces can be controlled from Shoygu’s plane and such communications, if intercepted, would be invaluable for NATO.