US jet shoots down a 'mystery object' over Canada on Trudeau's orders

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks as he meets with US President Joe Biden at the InterContinental Presidente Mexico City hotel in Mexico City, January 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On the instructions of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a US fighter jet shot down an unidentified object over Canada on Saturday, marking the second such incident in North American skies in the past week, following the dramatic destruction of a suspected Chinese spy balloon.

The operation was the latest in a series of air mishaps over North America, which began late last month when a suspected Chinese spy balloon crossed Canada and the United States mainland, escalating tensions with Beijing.

"Canadian and American aircraft were scrambled, and an American F-22 fired successfully at the object," tweeted Trudeau on Saturday.

Trudeau stated that the the Canadian military in Yukon's territory "will now recover and analyze the object's wreckage."

He stated that he had discussed the recent incursion with US Vice President Joe Biden, while Canada's military minister said she had spoken with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Anita Anand, the Canadian defence minister, tweeted that the two "reaffirmed that we will always defend our sovereignty jointly."

Saturday's item was shot down over the Yukon, which borders Alaska, where fighter aircraft shot down another object Friday near the settlement of Deadhorse on the state's northern shore.

Search and recovery attempts for the object's remains resumed on Saturday but were hampered by "wind chill, snow, and limited daylight," according to a Pentagon's Northern Command statement.

"Recovery operations are taking place on sea ice," the Pentagon stated, adding that it had "no additional information... about the object, including its capabilities, purpose, or origin."

Diplomatic riff

A month ago, a giant balloon containing electronics — which the Pentagon classified as a spy vessel — soared above Canada and the United States, prompting a diplomatic spat with China, which admitted ownership of what it described as a harmless weather balloon that had strayed from its intended path.

This balloon entered US airspace in Alaska on January 28 before being shot down over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.

The balloon's course passed over multiple US military locations, including silos with nuclear-tipped missiles.

Republican senators criticized Biden's decision to let the balloon cross the mainland freely before shooting it down over the water. Some argued that it should have been shot down upon entering US airspace.

Northern Command stated that national recovery teams consisting of divers and unmanned remote-control minisubs continue investigating shallow coastal waters for balloon debris.

US officials report that imaging of the balloon reveals that it was equipped with surveillance equipment that could intercept communications and a solar array to power multiple sensors.

Publish : 2023-02-12 08:31:00

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