Serbia scrambled MiG-29 fighter jets as a US MQ-9 Reaper drone approached within 150 km of the aircraft of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu which was flying over Kosovo airspace.
According to Russia's Izvestia, the drone is either an MQ-9 Reaper or a RQ-4 Global Hawk.
Invaluable information exchanged between Shoygu and Russian forces may have been compromised since the drone has the ability to intercept air control communications.
The incident comes at a time when Serbia is expecting the delivery of first of its Pantsir air defense systems this week, Serbian TV reported. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced the contract in October 2019, during Slavic Shield-2019 joint military exercise between the two countries.
A source in the defense industry told Sputnik earlier this year that Belgrade had ordered one Pantsir-S1 battery consisting of six missile systems. The Serbian military are said to have already undergone required training on using the Russian systems.
The Pantsir-S1 (SA-22 Greyhound NATO code name) is designed for protection against precision-guided air attack from low and extreme low altitudes. The mobile version of the Pantsir-S1 system includes a combat vehicle (up to six vehicles in a battery), surface-to-air guided missiles, 30 mm rounds, a transporter-loader vehicle (one per two combat vehicles), maintenance and training facilities.