Rubio: US should fly more drones over Black Sea, protect them with jets 


Vice Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) at the Senate Intelligence Committee meeting to discuss worldwide threats in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says Russia’s downing of a U.S. Reaper drone over the Black Sea is a “test” and the Biden administration should begin flying more drones with fighter escorts in the region.  

“This is a direct test of the Biden administration to try to see what the limits are,” Rubio told “CBS Mornings” in an interview. “It’s a test to see if we’ll respond to it.” 

Rubio made his comments in response to footage released by the Pentagon showing a Russian fighter jet flying at the American drone and forcing it out of the sky. 

The collision that disabled the drone was the culmination of a 30- to 40-minute interaction between the drone and Russian Su-27 fighters. 

“I think our response should be to fly more of these in that area and to potentially have them escorted by U.S. fighter jets who are manned and have the capability to respond,” Rubio said.  

Rubio said members of the Gang of Eight, the top four party leaders in Congress and the chairmen and vice chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees, have not received an additional briefing on the incident, but that it’s clear that Russian fighters acted intentionally.  

“This was a deliberate effort, this wasn’t some accident. It wasn’t some harassment effort that went awry. This was a design. They basically decided we’re going to begin to shoot down U.S. asset, whatever’s flying in what they call restricted airspace,” he said.  

Rubio clarified that the drone was flying in international airspace that Russia is arbitrarily trying to close off from American aircraft. 

“They declare a restriction over it,” he said.  

Russian officials are claiming the drone flight shows that U.S. forces are directly involved in the war in Ukraine.  

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the mid-air collision was the latest incident in a “pattern of aggressive, risky and unsafe actions” by Russian fighter jets operating in international airspace.


  1. “I think our response should be to fly more of these in that area and to potentially have them escorted by U.S. fighter jets who are manned and have the capability to respond,”

    Good for Mr. Rubio! There must be a response over this! I don’t mean a sissified statement like, we’re deeply concerned, or something stupid like that. Flying more drones with fighter escort as a response is okay, downing a mafia plane would be better, and sending jet fighters and long-range missiles to Ukraine would be the best response.

  2. I wonder what’s the point of having unmanned drones flying over, if you ALSO have them escorted by manned fighters? Either unmanned or manned, but not both. It does seem the appropriate response is to have MORE flights. If using manned fighter jets, then equip them with reconnaissance and surveillance technology. Unless it’s more expensive to retrofit the planes, or the tech’s designs simply can’t go on the current planes, it seems redundant for pilots to fly in for protecting drones that are meant for this very situation.

    But, Rubio is correct. MORE flights. I think this is also an indication of Ron DeSantis’ willingness to continue a supportive alliance with Ukraine. Both Rubio and DeSantis are from Florida. That DeSantis hasn’t been clear about supporting Ukraine may be because he doesn’t want to lose the strong Republican support he’s enjoying. It’s pointed out here, and I have personally seen it in my own experience, that Republicans are sharply divided over supporting Trump or DeSantis. Some Republicans see a foreign war as a waste of taxpayer money, versus those Republicans who see the stance of backing off as a sign of weakness that we can’t afford to show to russia, china, or iran.

  3. Poland wants to send 4 Mig’s, Muscovy has 4000, 75% of them are operational… Victory to Ukraine?

    • russia has 200 migs in total. They have a total of 629 fixed wing aircraft. How many are operational is anyone’s guess.

      • Can’t confirm your numbers. But still, what will four outdated MIG’s do versus 200 updated ones? I know i’m the big traitor. Ok with that. But what is the sacrifice of an entire generation worthy if victory can’t be achieved anyway. According to Zelensky Ukraine either liberates everything or dies.

        • Let’s hope it’s the start of a landslide of planes going into Ukraine. Someone had to be first while Biden dithers like an old woman

          • Ukraine’s would need a full decade to get on par with filthy Muscovy. I love and support you guys and keep praying for a miracle in favor of Ukraine. But i can’t hide that i have a (sober) brain.

          • RuSSia is fighting with their 3rd army (!!!) The first army is ready to defend Crimea. So far only some infrastructure is targeted. RuSSia can erase Ukraine, and the Pentagon knows it. When will people finally analize what can be achieved instead of dreaming wet dreams?!

            • Everything is going to be ok Mike. Putin lost Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv all the way down to Luhansk, and the better half of Kherson oblast. The partisans are doing wonders in Melitopol and Mykolaiv is also safe along with Odesa. Crimea is smoking and the missiles have decreased immensely. Besides that, Putin’s nazis have nothing to fight for except their love of killing. Be strong and give NO quarter to the Occupanti

          • Mike, you’re not watching the same war I’m watching. Russia’s military has been decimated; a shadow of what it was a year ago. Wagner was the only force that could find its butt with both hands. They’re running out of equipment & ammo. True, they’ll not run out of dog food. Crimea is vulnerable, just like Kherson city. When the time comes, one push to the sea of Azov and a well-placed salvo on a certain bridge and Crimea will fall like a ton of bricks. Hopefully putin will be under it like the wicked witch of the East.

        • This might be only a gesture to get the sleeping West to wake up. Everyone is still just sitting around with their thumbs up their asses.

    • Russia has waaaay less, and they cannot even operate over Ukraine as they have a dense air defense network.

      And 4 doesn’t seem like a lot, but Ukraine already has a lot of them and Poland has sent them before, but under the guise of spare parts.

      Ukraine has received MIG’s way earlier, as they have about as many MIGs as they started the war with. So they must have been delivered secretly.

      It might very well be that these 4 MIGs were adjusted to use Western weapons, so they might receive them in batches after they were modified.

      I mostly care about the lack of SU-27’s Ukraine has, which very few nations have and none of the NATO members. These are way better than F-16’s and the Soviet F-15 equivalent.

      I actually think it would be a good idea to skip the F-16’s at all and give MIG’s and F-15’s.

      A MIG-29 with Western missiles probably is as good as an F-16 jet, while there are enough air frames around while they can be used on bad air fields while F-16’s can’t and will fail when a few rocks will get inside the engine.

  4. How about equipping the drones with a cigarette lighter? If the Russians dump fuel, light ’em up!

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