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UK Defense Ministry: Alleged loss of aircraft at Belarusian airfield to further limit Russia's air operations

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 28, 2023 11:12 AM 1 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

The loss of a Russian A-50 aircraft in an alleged partisan attack on a Belarusian airfield in Machulishchy will "likely leave six operational A-50s in service, further constraining Russian air operations," the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Feb. 28.

On Feb. 26, Belarusian anti-government organization BYPOL said that a Russian A-50 MAINSTAY early warning and control aircraft had been damaged in a drone attack on the Machulishchy airfield near Minsk as part of BYPOL's so-called "Victory Plan."

The BYPOL group reported two explosions and damage to the front and middle sections of the A-50, as well as the radar antenna, the U.K. Defense Ministry cited in its latest intelligence update.

The A-50 MAINSTAY aircraft is designed to create a recognizable air picture and ensure the coordination of adjoining fighter jets, according to the report.

The radar system of the Soviet-built A-50 can simultaneously track up to 150 targets at a distance of up to 230 kilometers or large targets such as ships at a distance of up to 400 kilometers.

Although the damage has not been officially confirmed, losing an A-50 would be "significant as it is critical to Russian air operations for providing an air battlespace picture," reads the ministry's intelligence update.

Since the launch of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, partisans have been active in Belarus, Ukraine's northern neighbor, sabotaging military, transport, and cyberinfrastructure.

Although Belarus has not officially declared war on Ukraine, Russian forces have been given access to Belarusian territory to launch attacks on Ukraine, including the failed assault on Kyiv in February 2022.

Leaked document reveals alleged Kremlin plan to take over Belarus by 2030
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