Ukraine military destroys Russian surveillance plane - air force commander

  • World
  • Saturday, 24 Feb 2024

(Reuters) - Ukraine's military on Friday destroyed a Russian A-50 surveillance aircraft, Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said, the second time in a little more than a month that Ukraine has reported downing the sophisticated plane.

"The A-50 with the call sign 'Bayan' has flown its last!" Oleshchuk wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted military sources as saying the A-50 was downed over Russian territory, between the cities of Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar. The operation was carried out, it said, by the air force and the intelligence directorate.

Russian news agencies quoted emergency services in southern Krasnodar region as saying that fragments of an aircraft were found in marshland in Kanevskoy district and firefighters extinguished a blaze.

The report made no reference to the A-50.

Ukraine's military in January said its air force destroyed a Russian Beriev A-50 surveillance plane and an Ilyushin Il-22 airborne command post in the Sea of Azov.

The A-50, which first came into service near the end of the Soviet era, is a large airborne early warning and control aircraft that can scan several hundred kilometres for enemy aircraft, ships and missiles.

Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine's military intelligence directorate, told the Financial Times a month ago that Russia had eight A-50s at that time.

(Reporting by Yuliia Dysa, Ron Popeski and Nick Starkov; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman)

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