Losing A-50 AWACS plane will complicate Russian operations in southern Ukraine — Budanov

Kyrylo Budanov
Kyrylo Budanov

The destruction of the A-50 AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft will likely be a significant blow to the Russian Air Force operations around southern Ukraine, Ukrainian Defense Intelligence (HUR) chief Kyrylo Budanov told the Financial Times on Jan. 15.

While the A-50 plane was shot down and exploded, an Il-22 command-and-control aircraft was damaged and forced to make an emergency landing in Anapa, Budanov said.

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He added that Russia has eight airworthy A-50s left. He also suggested that the destruction of this aircraft would impact Russia's ability to direct and control military operations on the battlefield, particularly in southern Ukraine.

Earlier on Jan. 15, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi confirmed that the Ukrainian Air Force had destroyed a Russian A-50 AWACS plane and damaged an Il-22 aircraft.

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The two planes were on duty near Strilkove, Kherson Oblast, and were hit around 9:00 p.m. on Jan. 14, with the Il-22 performing an emergency landing in Russia’s Anapa.

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The Fighterbomber Telegram channel, allegedly run by Capt. Ilya Tumanov of the Russian Armed Forces, reported casualties among the crew of the downed A-50, while claiming the damaged Il-22M11 successfully made an emergency landing.

Russian officials are yet to comment on these reports.

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