Several aviation enthusiasts have reported on Twitter that a US Air Force RQ-4B-40 Global Hawk reconnaissance drone was first spotted flying near the demarcation line in Donbass in Ukraine, then along the coast of the Crimean Peninsula on 7 May. The drone, with the call sign Forte 10, was launched from the Sigonella air base in Sicily, the Twitterians said.
The US has not commented on the operational tasks of the drone, but this was not the first time that an American drone has taken off from Sigonella to conduct surveillance flights either near Russia's border or close to the Syrian coast, where two Russian military bases are located. Such flights have become commonplace following the downward spiral in bilateral relations between the US and Russia that began in 2014.
The US and its NATO allies have also been conducting similar flights along the western and north-western borders of Russia, despite the latter's repeated calls for a cessation of such activities.