- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2014

A Russian state arms and technology group claimed Friday to have downed a U.S. surveillance drone over Ukraine’s Crimea region, Agence France Presse reported. The Pentagon issued a denial to the International Business Times on Saturday, with a spokesman for the Department of Defense saying there was “zero truth” to to claims.

“The drone was flying at about 12,000 feet and was virtually invisible from the ground. It was possible to break the link with U.S. operators with complex radio-electronic” technology, Moscow-based company Rostec said in a statement.

The group said the drone fell “almost intact into the hands of self-defense forces,” AFP reported.

“Judging by its identification number, UAV MQ-5B belonged to the 66th American Reconnaissance Brigade, based in Bavaria,” the statement claimed.

The news comes on the same day that the U.S. military announced it was preparing to send a squadron of C-130 transport aircraft to Poland. The Pentagon also plans to send 12 F-16 fighter jets to Lask Air Base, Poland, for an unscheduled training session.

Ukraine’s Crimea region will vote Sunday whether to secede and join Russia. The outcome of the referendum could lead to a complete annexation of the region by Russia.

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