Russian fighter jets dumped fuel on and collided with an American surveillance drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday, U.S. military officials said, forcing it down and marking the first direct military clash between Russia and the United States since the beginning of the Ukraine war.

The incident, occurring around 7 a.m. local time, left Air Force personnel remotely operating the MQ-9 Reaper with no choice but to crash the aircraft in international waters, U.S. officials said. They characterized the encounter as part of a "pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots" while interacting with American and allied aircraft in international airspace, and warned that such provocations could lead to "miscalculation and unintended escalation" between the two powers.