Ukraine Claims to Have Shot Down Two of Russia's Most Valuable Aircraft

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.15 - 2024 9:34 AM CET

Ukraine Claims to Have Shot Down Two of Russia's Most Valuable Aircraft.

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In a significant development in the ongoing conflict, Ukrainian forces are reported to have downed a Russian A-50 military aircraft over the Azov Sea, as per RBC Ukraine's report on January 14.

The source, linked to the Ukrainian military but not named, also mentioned that an additional Russian military plane, the Il-22M, sustained damage.

The incident involving the A-50 occurred shortly after the aircraft commenced operations in the Kyrylivka area of Zaporizhzhia at 9:10 p.m. local time. Following its disappearance from radar and lack of response to tactical aviation requests, a Russian Su-30 pilot later reported witnessing the ignition and descent of an unidentified aircraft.

The Il-22M, operating in the Strilkove area, reportedly met a similar fate along the Azov Sea coast around 9 p.m. local time. RBC Ukraine released an audio recording purported to be an "intercepted conversation" between the Russian pilot of the downed aircraft and an airfield controller in Anapa, Russia, where the pilot urgently requested evacuation, ambulance, and fire services.

The A-50 aircraft, a vital asset in Russia's military operations in Ukraine, is known for its capabilities in detecting air defense systems, guiding missiles, and coordinating targets for Russian fighter jets.

The loss of such an aircraft is significant, especially considering Russia's limited fleet of only eight A-50s. These aircraft are typically operated at a safe distance from Ukrainian air defenses due to their value and irreplaceability.

The potential destruction of the A-50 by Ukrainian forces marks a notable achievement in the conflict. Yuriy Mysiagin, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on National Security, Defense, and Intelligence in the Verkhovna Rada, claimed via Telegram that both aircraft were destroyed on Sunday evening. However, official confirmation from Ukrainian military sources remains pending.

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