Several online reports allege that a US Air Force RQ-4B reconnaissance drone was possibly shot down over the Black Sea. The topic has gained attention on platforms like X and Telegram, where users are actively discussing it, though concrete evidence is still lacking. One prominent figure fueling these claims is US Civil Defense News, known for its background as a retired military officer and former political advisor to a NATO general. According to their updates, a Russian MiG-31 fighter allegedly targeted the drone near Crimea, where it was assisting NATO operations in Ukraine.

Earlier, the same source reported on Russia’s declaration of a “no-fly zone” over the Black Sea in response to Western reconnaissance activities aiding Ukraine. Despite these claims and the ensuing debate on Telegram, there has been no official confirmation from Russia, Ukraine, Europe, or the United States regarding the alleged incident involving the RQ-4B or any other drone model in the past 24 hours. Even Russian sources like have indicated a lack of verified evidence to support these assertions.

Moreover, the Russian Ministry of Defense’s daily updates on the Ukraine situation have made no mention of such an incident or the involvement of a MiG-31 in any operation over the Black Sea. This absence of official reports, particularly from Russia, suggests that the claims may be based on speculation or unverified information.

In the realm of military operations, temporarily disabling a drone’s radar transponder does not necessarily indicate it has been shot down or damaged. This tactic is often employed by operators to enhance stealth and evade detection by enemy radar systems, thereby safeguarding the mission’s integrity and ensuring the drone can gather intelligence effectively.

Recent events, such as Ukraine attributing strikes to US involvement due to reconnaissance drone activity, underscore the strategic use of turning off radar transponders to avoid detection. This practice helps drones operate covertly, minimizing the risk of interception and maximizing their effectiveness in gathering critical intelligence.

Another rationale for deactivating the radar transponder is to mitigate risks associated with electronic warfare tactics. Adversaries could exploit transponder signals to jam or deceive the drone’s navigation systems, potentially diverting it off course or neutralizing its effectiveness. Disabling the transponder reduces this vulnerability, ensuring the drone can execute its mission without disruption.

Furthermore, turning off the radar transponder enhances operational security. Military operations often require strict confidentiality, and emitted signals could be intercepted by hostile forces, divulging crucial details about mission objectives and timing. By keeping the transponder inactive, operators minimize the risk of compromising sensitive information.

In addition, the radar transponder typically facilitates air traffic control and collision avoidance in civilian airspace. However, during military missions, especially in contested or hostile environments, these considerations take a back seat to mission success and drone safety. Thus, operators prioritize stealth and security over standard aviation protocols.

Regarding the claim made by US Civil Defense News about Moscow establishing a “no-fly zone” over the Black Sea, has been unable to verify this assertion. There has been no official announcement from the Russian Federation regarding such a measure. Current reports from mobile air traffic tracking apps indicate ongoing aircraft operations over the Black Sea, with no specific restrictions noted around Crimea. This pattern has persisted consistently throughout the conflict.

There is a possibility that these reports may be examples of misinformation. Accounts with large followings are circulating claims without substantiating evidence, and official sources have not corroborated these assertions.

Recent updates from American officials refute claims circulated by Russian websites, often affiliated with the Russian Defense Ministry, regarding an alleged incident in the Black Sea. Specifically, assertions that a US high-altitude, long-endurance reconnaissance drone like the RQ-4 Global Hawk or MQ-4C Triton was pursued and shot down by Russian fighter jets, possibly MiG-31s, have been categorically denied.