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Air Force: Ukraine shoots down another Russian A-50 aircraft over Azov Sea

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 23, 2024 8:26 PM 2 min read
A Russian Beriev A-50 aircraft takes part in rehearsal for 2020 Victory Day parade in Moscow, on June 20, 2020. (Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The Ukrainian Air Force downed a rare Russian A-50 early warning and control aircraft over the Azov Sea on the evening of Feb. 23, Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk reported.

Ukraine's military intelligence agency confirmed the aircraft had been downed as a result of a joint operation with the Air Force. The downing is "another serious blow" to Russia's military capabilities, the agency said.

Oleshchuk posted on Telegram at around at 8 p.m. local time (UTC+2) to thank "all those who ensured the result."

Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported minutes later that "an unidentified aircraft crashed in the Kanevskoy District in Krasnodar Krai."

A second report from RIA Novosti said that two aircraft had crashed in the area, causing a large fire to break out at the crash site. A third update at around 9 p.m. UTC+2 time claimed that there had in fact only been one aircraft involved in the crash.

Kanevskoy District is situated on the coast of the Azov Sea, 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the front line in Ukraine.

HUR later said that the aircraft was downed near the city of Yeysk, which is located around 50 kilometers (32 miles) north of Kanevskoy District and is home to a Russian military airfield.

According the agency, the plane was a modernized version of the Soviet-built jet.

The Ukrainian Air Force had previously downed a Russian A-50 over the Azov Sea on Jan. 14. An Il-22 airborne control center was also reportedly damaged beyond repair in the same operation.

The A-50 provides several critical functions for the ongoing war in Ukraine, such as detecting air defense systems, guided missiles, and coordinating targets for Russian fighter jets. Russia possesses less than ten of these planes.

A-50 aircraft have an estimated price tag of around $350 million. The destruction of the jet is the latest in a recent uptick of downed Russian planes.

Ukraine reportedly downed a Su-34 fighter jet on Feb. 21, a Su-34 and a Su-35S plane on Feb. 19, a Su-34 plane on Feb. 18, as well as two Russian Su-34 fighter jets and another Russian Su-35 combat aircraft on Feb. 17.

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