Ukraine claims it shot down a key A-50 Russian spy plane — again

  • Ukraine’s air force said it has shot down another Russian A-50 spy plane.

  • The A-50, a crucial aircraft for Russia, detects incoming missiles and identifies ground targets.

  • Ukraine previously said it shot down a Russian A-50 in January.

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down another Russian A-50 spy plane on Friday.

CNN shared a video that it said appeared to show the moment the A-50 was downed.

The A-50 is a crucial spy plane that allows Russian to detect incoming Ukrainian missiles and identify ground targets.

The radar early-warning plane has been a “key enabler for Russian operations over Ukraine providing airborne early warning of threats as well as command and control functionality,” according to British intelligence, as Business Insider previously reported.

In mid-January, Ukraine said it shot down another Russian A-50 spy plane over Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region on the same day it also said it shot down an Ilyushin Il-22 airborne command post.

After the January loss of the spy plane, which British intelligence said likely exploded and crashed into the Sea of Azov, Russia appeared to deploy another A-50, only this time over land, according to the UK’s Defense Ministry.

“This activity is highly indicative of a reduced risk appetite for the airframes and an attempt to preserve remaining A-50 Mainstay at a loss to its overall effectiveness over Ukraine,” the agency said.

Missile-defense expert Gustav Gressel, from the European Council on Foreign Relations, told Business Insider’s Natalie Musumeci and Sinéad Baker at the time that losing a rare A-50 would be “a significant loss” for Russia.

Earlier this week, Ukraine said it shot down six Russian aircraft in just three days. On Monday, Ukraine said it shot down two Russian aircraft, a Su-34 fighter-bomber and a Su-35S fighter jet. That came after Kyiv said it had shot down three Su-34s and one Su-35 over the weekend.

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