Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu handed down an order to decorate the pilots of the Su-27 fighter jets who intercepted a US MQ-9 spy drone over the Black Sea area restricted for flights during the special military operation, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Friday.

“Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergey Shoigu has issued an order to bestow state awards on the pilots of the Su-27 planes who did not allow the US MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle to violate the airspace restricted for use during the special military operation,” the ministry said in a statement.

The boundaries of the airspace restricted for flights were brought to the notice of all international airspace users and published in accordance with international norms, the ministry stressed.

The US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone crashed in the international waters of the Black Sea on March 14. As Russia’s Defense Ministry reported, the American reconnaissance drone flew with its transponders switched off towards the Russian border and intruded into the area covered “by the temporary regime for the airspace use established for the purposes of the special military operation and brought to the notice of all users of international airspace and published in accordance with international norms.”

The US drone lost control “as a result of an abrupt maneuver” and crashed into the water while the Russian fighter jets scrambled to intercept the intruder did not employ their onboard armaments and did not enter into contract with the UAV, the ministry specified.

According to the US version, two Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted the MQ-9 reconnaissance drone over the Black Sea and released jet fuel on it several times. Finally, as Washington claims, one of the fighters struck the drone’s propeller, causing it to crash.