(MENAFN) According to a senior military official, the decision by President Joe Biden's administration to reroute drone flights over the Black Sea in order to avoid provoking a direct conflict with Russian forces has had the unintended consequence of curtailing intelligence gathering on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Allegedly ordered earlier this month, the rerouting came after a US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone crashed into the Black Sea following an encounter with a Russian Sukhol Su-27 fighter jet on March 14.
The rerouting of drone flights to fly at greater distances from the conflict zone and at higher altitudes in order to reduce the risk of direct confrontation with Russian forces has also reportedly resulted in a reduction in the quality of the intelligence that the drones can gather. Citing an anonymous senior official, CNN reported on Tuesday that the change in drone flight patterns has made it more difficult to monitor the situation in Ukraine.
Despite Russian complaints about the drone flights, the Pentagon had publicly declared that the US will continue to "fly and operate wherever international law allows." However, in response to the drone crash and with the aim of avoiding a direct conflict with Russia, the Biden administration has begun routing its unmanned aerial vehicles further south, keeping them at a greater distance from the Crimean Peninsula and eastern portions of the Black Sea.
The decision to reroute drone flights has raised concerns about the United States' ability to gather intelligence on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which has been ongoing since 2014. The situation remains tense, with Ukraine calling for greater support from the international community and Russia showing no signs of backing down. The impact of the Biden administration's decision on intelligence gathering efforts in the region, as well as on the broader crisis, remains to be seen.
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