South Asia and Beyond

Ukraine Claims To Shoot Down Russian Eye In The Sky Aircraft On Second Anniversary Of War

 Ukraine Claims To Shoot Down Russian Eye In The Sky Aircraft On Second Anniversary Of War

Ukraine claims to shoot down Russian Eye in the Sky aircraft- an A-50 AWACS aircraft. It has reportedly been shot down over the Sea of Azov. According to The New Voice of Ukraine an online news portal, this is the second Russian such plane to be shot down this year. The first was on Jan. 14, and in the same area, the Sea of Azov. Russian social media accounts claimed the aircraft was shot down at 7:15 pm on February 23 and fell in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai, near the village of Trudovaya, Armenia. Locals say that explosions were heard after the crash.

Pro-Russian military media observers claim the downing of the aircraft was due to “friendly fire”, Russian anti-aircraft gunners engaging the A-50 by mistake.  Ukraine, however, claims they shot down the aircraft using a surface-to-air missile. Forbes magazine said the missile used was an American Patriot.

“Destruction of Russian aircraft and enemies is a great honor.” Oleksandr Syrsky, the recently appointed commander in chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, confirmed the news on Facebook.

“First, I want to thank our Air Force, everyone who defends our skies. There are good results concerning Russian military aircraft. Seven combat aircraft – Russian “Su” jets – were shot down in a week. Thank you, our warriors, for your accuracy. One of the key tasks for our country this year is to defend the sky and our frontline positions from Russian air and missile attacks,” he said in the video address.

The loss is serious for Russia given Ukrainian claims that their forces had shot down seven Russian combat aircraft in a week.

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Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, however, told journalists he had “no information about the downing of Russian planes by the Ukrainian armed forces.”

The A50s have played a crucial role in Russia’s war against Ukraine. They are airborne command posts that can detect air targets flying 650 km away, and ground targets 300 km away.

The Defence Ministry of the Ukrainian government said in a statement that each A-50 costs about $350 million to make.  Defence experts also believe Russia will have a tough time replacing the aircraft due to the high cost, and the fact that parts will be hard to produce because of sanctions.

The downing of the aircraft is a small, symbolic victory for Ukraine which recently lost the city of Avdiivka to Russian forces.

Ashwin Ahmad

Traveller, bibliophile and wordsmith with a yen for international relations. A journalist and budding author of short fiction, life is a daily struggle to uncover the latest breaking story while attempting to be Hemingway in the self-same time. Focussed especially on Europe and West Asia, discussing Brexit, the Iran crisis and all matters related is a passion that endures to this day. Believes firmly that life without the written word is a life best not lived. That’s me, Ashwin Ahmad.