He clarified that the device flew at an altitude of 12 kilometers and posed a danger to civil aviation. According to Kirby, the military tracked the object in Alaskan airspace for a day. As a result, he was liquidated on the border with Canada with the help of fighter jets.
“President Biden ordered the military to shoot down the object, which they did,” he said.
Kirby noted that it has not yet been possible to establish the ownership and purpose of the device. It is known that it was significantly smaller and simpler than the Chinese balloon shot down earlier over the Atlantic.
At the same time, the United States is not yet ready to claim that the balloon that was liquidated over Alaska was engaged in the collection of intelligence data. Also, Washington does not plan to request contacts with China against the background of this incident, the official stressed.
Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder declined to say whether the downed object over Alaska was a balloon, but expressed confidence that there were no people on board.
Last week, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed that the military, on behalf of President Joe Biden, had shot down a Chinese-owned balloon that had entered US airspace. According to him, the device was used to monitor strategic objects.
The United States noticed the balloon at the end of last month, reported it to Biden, but on the advice of the Pentagon chief , they did not shoot down the balloon over the country’s territory. The balloon flew in from the Aleutian Islands through Canada and reached the state of Montana.
Due to the incident, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken postponed a visit to China. Beijing dismissed unfounded speculation and hype, explaining that the situation was caused by force majeure and the device was a weather balloon that deviated from the route.
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