Russia acknowledges downing of A-50 reconnaissance aircraft by Ukrainian Forces on February 23

Russia has acknowledged that on February 23, its A-50 reconnaissance aircraft was downed by Ukrainian forces. This information came in reports published on Monday, June 17, by the Investigative Committee and Moscow courts of general jurisdiction. These reports included details about the in-absentia arrest of Colonel Mykola Dzaman, commander of the 138th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).

Russian authorities have accused Dzaman of terrorism. According to the investigation materials, he ordered the destruction of the A-50 knowing that the aircraft "was not intended for combat missions and was unarmed," and its flight was "exclusively within Russian airspace."

The Ukrainian officer has been put on the wanted list. During the court session in Moscow, court-appointed lawyer Viktor Abashin represented him. Abashin stated that he opposed Dzaman's arrest.

The A-50 AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft was shot down on February 23 of this year. Its wreckage was discovered near the town of Trudovaya Armenia in the Kanevsky district of the Krasnodar region. Both Ukrainian and Russian sources reported on the aircraft's destruction at the time. The Ukrainian Air Force Command claimed the A-50 was downed by their forces, whereas Russian pro-military bloggers referred to it as a "friendly fire" incident.

Prior to this, on January 14, another Russian A-50 was downed over the Sea of Azov near Berdyansk. Russia did not acknowledge this aircraft's loss at the time. The A-50 is used primarily for detecting and tracking aerial and surface targets, as well as notifying command posts about the aerial and surface situation. Russia has fewer than ten of these aircraft remaining.

  War in Ukraine, Russia, A-50