How Russia’s second A-50 spy aircraft was shot down over the Sea of Azov

On February 24, Ukrainians sadly mark the second year of Russia’s full-scale invasion. And on February 23, Russians celebrated “Defender of the Fatherland Day,” which is more like “Invader of neighboring states Day.”

The Ukrainian military did not hesitate to prepare a “gift” for the invaders and shot down a Russian A-50U aircraft over the Sea of Azov. This is the second Russian A-50 shot down by the Ukrainian military in a short time.

How Russia reacted to the downing of the A-50

Russia seems to repeat its mistakes, as another A-50 was shot down in the Sea of Azov just a month ago.

In the evening, a message from Ukraine’s Air Force Commander, Mykola Oleshchuk, officially confirmed that the Russian invaders had lost an A-50 aircraft.

General Oleshchuk thanked the Air Force for the successful operation and emphasized that the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine was involved. Ukraine’s Military Intelligence stated that the result of this operation was a team effort.

The Russian A-50 crew died

There were 10 Russian servicemen on board the downed plane; none of them survived. According to Ukrainian media, there were five majors, three captains, an ensign, and a lieutenant among those on board.

Petro Andriushchenko, an advisor to the mayor of occupied Mariupol, said that Ukrainian partisans in Mariupol helped the Ukrainian Armed Forces shoot down enemy A-50 aircraft.

They published a photo of a Russian aircraft taking off and returning to the airfield in occupied Mariupol. As a result, the local resistance in Mariupol monitored enemy aircraft.

Andriushchenko noted that this Russian plane coordinated the massive attack on Ukraine on February 7. Then the Russians attacked six regions, and civilians were killed and wounded.

The video of the plane’s downing shows it firing off heat traps, one of which lures one of the missiles, but the second one hits the plane. Thus, the A-50 crew knew that missiles were coming at them.

The A-50 was shot down almost 200 km from the border

The A-50 was shot down approximately over the Kaniv district, and the wreckage fell near the village of Trudova, Armenia.

Ukrainian intelligence published a map with the flight track showing the plane’s route to the south of the city of Yeysk, approximately 170 kilometers from the front line.

The published footage shows that there is nothing left of the valuable aircraft. The footage that has been circulated barely shows the details of the destroyed aircraft in the fields in the darkness. In particular, a local resident shot a video near the village of Borets Truda.

A Russian pilot confirmed the destruction of the A-50 aircraft he saw being shot down. Russia has ordered additional missions for two Su-35s and three Su-34s that were flying near the village of Millerovo.

Some of these aircraft were planning to conduct air strikes in the Avdiivka area.

Was the A-50 shot down by the S-200 system?

According to Ukrayinska Pravda, the A-50 might have fallen victim to a Soviet S-200 air defense system, as reported by its sources in the Main Intelligence Directorate.

The S-200 is a long-range surface-to-air missile system. Its purpose is to counter aircraft, airborne command posts, jammers, and other manned and unmanned air attack assets.

The S-200 hits targets at altitudes ranging from 300 meters to 40 kilometers, at ranges up to 300 kilometers.

What’s the cost of Russia’s eliminated A-50U aircraft?

The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine clarified that a modernized A-50U model was destroyed over the Sea of Azov. The aircraft’s cost is $350 million.

The Russians used it as an air command post. It served for long-range radar detection, strike control in Ukraine, and missile guidance for strategic aviation to the correct targets.

By the beginning of 2024, Russia had a total of nine A-50 aircraft. One plane was shot down in January and another in February, leaving the occupiers with only seven such reconnaissance aircraft.

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrskyi, commented on this event: “The A-50U’s downside is the excellent work of the Air Force and the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine. Destroying Russian aircraft and enemies is a great honor.”

Russia’s response to the “catastrophe”

The regional department of the Russian Unified Duty Dispatch Service confirmed that two aircraft had crashed near the village of Trudova Armenia, Kaniv district. There was a fire on an area of 250 square meters.

The Russians engaged 40 people and 14 pieces of equipment to extinguish the fire. It took a little over an hour to extinguish it.

Russian invaders lost 10 valuable military aircraft in a week

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on the morning of February 23 that they had destroyed 339 Russian aircraft during the two years of the large-scale war.

On the morning of February 24, exactly the second anniversary of the invasion, the report from the Armed Forces Command will contain a figure of 340.

Last week alone, there were many catastrophic events for the Russian invaders. On February 17, Ukrainian defenders shot down three Russian aircraft at once: two Su-34 fighter-bombers and one Su-35 fighter jet.

On February 18, observers spotted another Su-34. On the morning of February 19, Ukrainian forces shot down two Russian aircraft that were attacking their positions with guided bombs. In this case, we are also talking about Su-34 and Su-35S.

Putin attempts to assure that his aviation is under control

By the way, Russian dictator Putin is trying to broadcast to his country’s citizens that the situation in Russian aviation is under his “full control.” On February 22, Vladimir Putin took a 30-minute flight on a Tu-160M military aircraft.

In the 25 years of the Kremlin dictator’s rule, we can recall two other similar episodes. So, in general, the Russian president only resorts to public flights on military aircraft in extreme cases. And, as you might expect, to strengthen military propaganda and assure citizens that everything is under control while Moscow suffers bitter setbacks.

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