SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s congressional delegation is reacting to the downing of a U.S. drone by Russian fighter jets.
Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds condemn the action, as does representative Dusty Johnson.
Footage shows Russian jets making two passes from behind the drone, dumping fuel out of the tail as they go by.
It is believed the fuel dump was aimed at blinding the drone’s optical instruments to drive it from the area.
But the second jet got too close and clipped the drone’s propeller.
Separate images show what the drone’s propeller looked like before and after the downing.
“It’s in international air space and we have a right to be there. I think this was a provocative action by the Russians and it needs to be met with, basically, I would say a strong response by the United States making it very clear that this sort of thing is not acceptable,” said Sen. John Thune.
“I know there are people who just don’t want us to get involved anywhere in the rest of the world. They just feel like the Chinese communist party, that’s just a threat over there. Russians, they’re not our problem. The reality is there are forces of evil that are working together to move against American interests,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson.
Some of the drone wreckage in the Black Sea appears to have been recovered by the Russian navy.
Thune believes the software was wiped before the drone crashed so the wreckage is of little value to the Russians.
Both Thune and Johnson tell us American support for Ukraine is in the best interests of our national security.
“I think those interests are served by defeating Russia in Ukraine because China is paying attention. The question I always ask people is ‘do you think China, if we pull out of Ukraine, do you think it is more or less likely that China invades Taiwan?’ And I think the answer to that is obvious. It’s way more likely,” said Sen. Dusty Johnson.
Both Thune and Johnson say they will continue working in Washington to support military aid to Ukraine to repel the Russian invasion.