Late last week, a US Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk flew around Russia’s northwestern borders for eleven hours.
The latest drone flight, spotted by PlaneRadar, a Russian aviation resource, spotted the US drone taking off from the US airbase at Sigonella, Italy, flying over Greece, through Turkey, through Romania, and into Ukraine, making a loop in the country’s east, and then heading southwest around the western and southern coast of Crimea toward Krasnodar, southern Russia.
Taking off at 7 am Moscow time, the drone made it to Ukrainian airspace shortly after 9 am, spending close to twelve hours in Ukraine and the Black Sea, wrapping up its mission shortly before 10 pm Moscow time.
Additionally, at 18:29 Moscow time, the portal picked up a Boeing P-8A Poseidon spy plane, also flying near Crimea, and occasionally intersecting with the drone’s flight path.
The US has stepped up its aerial recon along Russia’s borders considerably in recent years, together with the buildup of NATO forces in the region. On Friday, an RQ-4, also taking off from Sigonella, flew through to the Baltic states, making several loops around the exclave of Kaliningrad, and then spending over three hours looping near the border next to Russia’s Leningrad and Pskov regions.