Ukraine strikes blow to Russian surveillance fleet with A-50 shootdown

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Web Desk
A Beriev A-50 takes part in rehearsal for 2020 Victory Day parade, in Moscow’s Tverskaya Street, Russia on June 20, 2020. — Anadolu Agency
A Beriev A-50 takes part in rehearsal for 2020 Victory Day parade, in Moscow’s Tverskaya Street, Russia on June 20, 2020. — Anadolu Agency 

Ukraine's military destroyed a Russian A-50 surveillance aircraft, marking the second incident in just over a month. 

"The A-50, known as 'Bayan,' has taken its final flight," Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk announced on the Telegram messaging app, emphasising Ukraine's resolute stance in countering sophisticated aerial threats.

Military sources, as reported by Interfax Ukraine news agency, detailed that the A-50 met its fate over Russian territory, precisely between the cities of Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar. The joint operation, orchestrated by the air force and the intelligence directorate, underscores Ukraine's strategic capabilities in neutralising Russia's advanced airborne assets.

Russian news agencies, quoting emergency services in the southern Krasnodar region, confirmed the incident. Fragments of the downed aircraft were discovered in marshland in Kanevskoy district, necessitating the swift response of firefighters to extinguish the resulting blaze.

The official report made no direct reference to the A-50, raising questions about the transparency surrounding the incident.

This event follows Ukraine's previous claim in January, where its air force successfully destroyed a Russian Beriev A-50 surveillance plane and an Ilyushin Il-22 airborne command post in the Sea of Azov. 

The repeated targeting of the A-50, a substantial airborne early warning and control aircraft that is capable of scanning several hundred kilometres for enemy aircraft, ships and missiles.

Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine's military intelligence directorate, had previously disclosed to the Financial Times that Russia possessed eight A-50s a month ago.