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Russian A-50 aircraft probably downed and another damaged over Sea of Azov

Monday, 15 January 2024, 08:56

Reports appeared on Russian and Ukrainian Telegram channels on the evening of 14 January about the downing of a Russian A-50 reconnaissance aircraft and damage to an Il-22M, which was partially confirmed this morning by Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, and Ukrainska Pravda’s sources in the Ukrainian government.

Source: Russian and Ukrainian Telegram channels; Yurii Mysiahin, Deputy Head of the Committee on National Security, Defence and Intelligence of the Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian parliament]; Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, on Telegram; Ukrainska Pravda’s sources

Quote from Mysiahin: "At around 21:00, Ukrainian units conducted an attack on two of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ aircraft, specifically targeting an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft (AWACS) aircraft and an IL-22 transport plane, which were over the Sea of Azov."


Details: Mysiahin said as of the evening of 14 January, the A-50 had been downed, while the IL-22 had been damaged – it remained airborne and attempted to reach the nearest airfield but disappeared from radars in the vicinity of Kerch after initiating its descent. 

Reports about the A-50 incident also appeared on Russian social media channels. The accuracy of the information regarding the downing of the aircraft was partially confirmed by the Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force.


Quotes from Oleshchuk:"[Aircraft emoji] This is revenge for [the city of] Dnipro! Burn in hell, non-humans! P.S. No details as of now."

Information about the downing of the aircraft was also confirmed by Ukrainska Pravda sources. 

"A-50 for sure. IL-22 – about 98% certain," a source reported.

Meanwhile, another version was voiced on social media, suggesting that the Russian aircraft were downed by the Russians themselves using air defence systems.

Neither the Ukrainian nor the Russian authorities have officially reported anything about the downing of the aircraft so far.

Reference: The A-50 aircraft is an airborne early warning and control (AWACS) platform designed for monitoring targets in the air, on the ground, and at sea, and for guiding fighter aircraft toward them.

Belaruski Hajun reported earlier that the Russian Aerospace Forces have nine such aircraft at their disposal. Each aircraft is serviced by 19 personnel (5 pilots, 11 radio engineers, and 3 technical engineers) and costs US$330 million.

The Il-22M is an airborne command post based on the Il-18 airliner that helps control troops during hostilities.


  • In February 2023, Belarusian activists reported that a Russian A-50 had been damaged in a subversive operation at the Machulishchy military airfield in Belarus.

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