The Biden administration took specific issue with the fact that Russia’s attack on a U.S. drone operating in international waters was “environmentally unsound.”
Russian warplanes on Tuesday attacked a U.S. surveillance drone patrolling in the Black Sea, forcing it to land in international waters. The Pentagon signaled it is particularly outraged over the Russian pilots’ decision to dump fuel on and around the drone.
“Several times before the collision, the [Russian] Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the [American] MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound, and unprofessional manner,” U.S. European Command said in a statement on the incident, which it called “unsafe and unprofessional.”
The Pentagon’s focus on the environmental impact of a military skirmish with Russia—the first since Moscow launched its unprovoked war in Ukraine last year—highlights the American military’s growing focus on green priorities under the Biden administration. “Tackling the climate crisis,” as the Defense Department puts it, is one of America’s top national security issues under President Joe Biden.
Russia’s decision to harm the environment as it attacks American military planes sounded alarm bells at the Pentagon, which says “the planet’s changing climate has a significant effect on Defense Department missions.” The Pentagon recently decided to elevate “climate change as a national security priority, integrating climate considerations into policies, strategies, and partner engagements.”
The Defense Department issued a “climate adaptation plan” in 2021 and followed up with a “progress report” in 2022. The Army, Navy, and Air Force also have issued their own “climate strategy” plans for the first time.
As part of this major military focus on green priorities, the Biden administration late last year mandated that contractors reduce CO2 emissions and consider “the climate impact of U.S. weapons,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
These mandates were handed down amid the war in Ukraine and come as Russia, China, Iran, and other malign regimes invest in their war fighting capabilities.
The Pentagon’s focus on Russia’s most recent fuel dump drew criticism on social media.
“Our government is so lame,” tweeted Steve Milloy, a Fox News contributor who tweets under the handle “JunkScience.”
“More importantly, the Russian pilots Twitter profile did NOT list his pronouns,” added another observer, referring to the U.S. military’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.
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