Espreso. Global

Ukraine shoots down two Russian aircraft over Sea of Azov

15 January, 2024 Monday

On January 15, Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov, and the Air Force confirmed the destruction of Russian A-50 and Il-22 aircraft. Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk hinted that this was in response to Russia's missile attack on a high-rise building in Dnipro last year, which killed 46 people

He made the statement on Telegram.

"The Air Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed an enemy A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft and an enemy IL-22 air control point. I am grateful to the Air Force for the perfectly planned and executed operation in the Azov Sea region!" wrote the Commander-in-Chief.

In addition, the Air Force of Ukraine confirmed the destruction of the Russian aircraft as part of a special operation in the Azov Sea.

"One less long-range radar detection aircraft A-50 and an air control point IL-22 for Russia. The special operation in Azov was successful. To be continued...," the press service of the Ukrainian Air Force noted.

Ukrainian MP Yuriy Mysyahin and RBC-Ukraine, citing their own sources in the Ukrainian Defense Forces, were the first to report the information.

At about 9:00 pm, Ukrainian forces hit two Russian aircraft, namely an A-50 reconnaissance aircraft and an IL-22 bomber, which were flying over the Sea of Azov. 

"The A-50 was successfully downed, and the IL-22 was hit but remained airborne, making efforts to reach the nearest airfield. It disappeared from the radar after starting to descend near Kerch," the statement said.

In turn, the Ukrainian Defense Forces confirmed this information and provided an interception of the conversation between the aircraft and the airfield controller in Anapa.

"Landing should take place in Anapa. We urgently need an ambulance and a fire truck," the Russian pilot said.

There is no official information from the Ukrainian Air Force yet.

On the morning of January 15, Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk hinted that the information about the downing of two Russian aircraft was true, but did not elaborate.

He stated that this serves as a response to Russia for the missile attack on a high-rise building in Dnipro on January 14, 2023, which resulted in the tragic loss of 46 lives, including 6 children.

"This is for Dnipro! Burn in hell, you inhumans! P.S. No details yet," the Air Force commander wrote on Telegram.

On the afternoon of January 15, Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, commented on the news. According to him, the IL-22 reached Anapa but is beyond repair. 

"So, no matter how you slice it, the target is destroyed, resuscitation will not help! The plane was on fire, there are wounded among the crew, hopefully, the 200th! The A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft was and is a priority target for us. And until now, the destruction of this aircraft seemed to be an impossible task for the Air Force. And then the IL-22 (air command post) was also targeted!" Ihnat wrote.

The Air Force spokesperson also shared a photo of the downed IL-22, which shows the severed tail of the aircraft.

The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate, Kyrylo Budanov, confirmed in a commentary to the Financial Times that the IL-22 managed to land.

"The A-50 was shot down and exploded... The Il-22 was heavily damaged, but unfortunately for us, it managed to make an emergency landing in Anapa," the intelligence chief said.

Budanov noted that the destruction of the A-50 is likely to affect the Russians' ability to operate around the clock and maintain communications in the conflict zone.

He also clarified how many A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft the Russians have.

"Only eight A-50s are in good condition," Budanov said.

  • On the morning of January 6, Ukraine’s Air Force Commander confirmed the information about the Ukrainian Armed Forces strikes on the Saki airfield in the temporarily occupied Crimea. The airfield housed a Russian control center.
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