Ukraine announced it had shot down the second Russian A-50 spy plane in weeks

  • Written by Velan Chatterjee
  • BBC News

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An A-50 aircraft during a military parade (archive photo)

Ukraine announced it had shot down a Russian A-50 military spy plane, the second such claim in just over a month.

Ukrainian military sources said that the plane was hit between the Russian cities of Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar, more than 200 kilometers from the front line.

Emergency services reportedly found aircraft fragments in the Kanevskoye district and put out a raging fire.

Russia did not comment on this allegation. Saturday marks two years since Russia launched a full-scale invasion.

Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk thanked his service and military intelligence for helping to shoot down the plane – a long-range radar detector plane – on Friday and noted that the incident coincided with a major Russian military holiday.

He said in a telegram: “Congratulations to the occupiers on Defender of the Fatherland Day.”

Video shared online shows the moment the plane appears to be shot down in the air, as well as massive flames and thick, dark smoke that appears to billow after the crash.

Krasnodar emergency authorities later said that a plane crashed near the village of Trudovaya Armenia, Kanevskoye region, and a fire was later extinguished. No further details were provided.

Meanwhile, at least one Telegram channel aligned with the Russian military suggested that the plane may have gone down as a result of friendly fire. “At the moment it is not known who shot it down,” a combat fighter wrote.

Ukraine last claimed to have shot down an A-50 on January 14.

An earlier briefing from the British Ministry of Defense said Russia may have six operational A-50s in service.

The plane, which detects air defenses and coordinates targets for Russian aircraft, could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ukraine has been struggling to make significant advances against Russian forces in the southeast of the country recently.

In an incident last month, Ukrainian military officials said an Il-22 control center plane was destroyed as well as an A-50 plane.

  • One person was killed and three others were injured in a Russian drone attack on the port of Odessa in southern Ukraine on Friday evening, local officials said.
  • Ukraine's top security official has warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin will try to settle the Ukrainian issue before the US presidential election in November, by seizing more territory and destabilizing the country.
  • British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that his country is ready to do “whatever it takes” to help Ukraine win.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said, “Ukraine is fighting for itself, for its ideals and for Europe. Our commitment to its side will not waver.”
  • There were reports of explosions and a fire in the early hours of Saturday at a metals factory in Lipetsk, western Russia, with the local governor indicating that the explosion was caused by a “plane crash.”
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