Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an “unidentified object” had been shot down over Canadian airspace on his orders.
“I ordered the take down of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace. @NORADCommand shot down the object over the Yukon. Canadian and U.S. aircraft were scrambled, and a US F-22 successfully fired at the object,” Trudeau said on Twitter.
The object was “cylindrical” and smaller than the suspected Chinese balloon shot down last weekend, Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said on Saturday evening.
The White House confirmed that Trudeau and US President Joe Biden authorised the shoot-down and the Pentagon said the object was first spotted over Alaska on Friday evening.
Trudeau said he spoke with US President Joe Biden on Saturday and that Canadian forces will lead the object recovery operation.
The object shot down Saturday marks the third time in one week that US aircraft have shot down an object in North American airspace.
Saturday’s incident follows the downing of another unidentified object on Friday over Alaska, and the shoot-down of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon on February 4 by a US F-22 fighter jet.
According to the statement regarding the call between Biden and Trudeau, the leaders “discussed the importance of recovering the object in order to determine more details on its purpose or origin.”
A statement from Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said the object shot down on Saturday was first noticed over Alaska on Friday evening.
Two F-22 fighter jets “monitored the object” with the help of the Alaska Air National Guard, Ryder’s statement said, “tracking it closely and taking time to characterise the nature of the object.”
“Monitoring continued today as the object crossed into Canadian airspace, with Canadian CF-18 and CP-140 aircraft joining the formation to further assess the object. A U.S. F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory using an AIM 9X missile,” his statement added.
“As Canadian authorities conduct recovery operations to help our countries learn more about the object, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”
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