In a dramatic encounter over the Black Sea on Tuesday, a Russian fighter jet reportedly forced a U.S. Air Force drone down after causing damage to its propeller. The incident marks the latest in a series of tensions between the two nations in the region, raising concerns over the safety of military operations in the area.

"Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9," Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker said in a statement. "In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash."

A U.S. European Command statement claimed that on Tuesday, a Russian Su-27 deliberately passed in front of an American MQ-9 Reaper drone and dumped fuel on it many times while all aircraft were in international airspace over the Black Sea.

Once the plane struck the drone's propeller, American forces forced it to crash in international waters.

Military tensions between the U.S. and Russia have been simmering for decades, dating back to the Cold War era. The two superpowers engaged in a series of proxy wars, espionage activities, and arms races during this time.

In recent years, tensions between the two nations have again risen to new heights, with both countries accusing each other of aggressive military actions. In 2014, Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine resulted in the imposition of economic sanctions by the U.S. and other Western nations.

The situation has only escalated since then, with the U.S. and Russia engaging in a series of tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats, cyber-attacks, and military confrontations in the Middle East, Europe, and the Arctic region.

Both nations have also been involved in a new arms race, with the U.S. developing new nuclear weapons and Russia reportedly testing new hypersonic missiles capable of reaching any target on the planet.

As the first direct physical contact between Russian and U.S. military aircraft since Russia's invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago, the recent drone incident is likely to exacerbate already-existing tensions between the two countries. The U.S. has labeled Russia's actions as "reckless, environmentally unsound, and unprofessional."

Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., stated after being called to the State Department in the wake of the drone downing that Russia does not seek "confrontation" between his nation and the U.S..

As the world watches with bated breath, the future of U.S.-Russia relations remains uncertain, with tensions showing no signs of abating any time soon.