Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian Beriev A-50 reconnaissance aircraft and an Ilyushin Il-22M bomber over the Sea of Azov, between Russia and Ukraine, two members of Ukraine’s parliament said on Sunday evening.
Verkhovna Rada deputies Yuriy Mysyagin and Oleksandr Fediyenko both announced the news on their Telegram channels. “The A-50 was shot down, and the Il-22 was hit,” Mysyagin said, adding: “The latter was trying to get to the nearest airfield, but disappeared from radar after starting its descent in the Kerch area.”
The strikes were subsequently confirmed by two independent Ukrainian news websites, with RBC-Ukraine citing sources in the country’s Defence Forces and Hromadske getting confirmation from sources in the Main Intelligence Directorate.
The RBC-Ukraine source also shared an apparent intercept of the conversation between the Il-22M pilot and a dispatcher in which the captain asks for permission to make an emergency landing at Anapa Airport in southern Russia.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valeriy Zaluzhnyi also commented on the incident on his Telegram channel on Monday. “The Ukrainian Air Force destroyed an enemy A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft and an Il-22 airborne command post.” He also thanked the Air Force for an “operation that was planned and carried out perfectly”.
The Russian Defence Ministry has not commented on the incident.
A photograph of what was said to be the wreckage of the downed Il-22 was published on Russian Telegram channels. “It is insufficient to call the Il-22 crew real heroes. I hope they will tell us their story themselves,” pro-Russian Telegram channel Fighterbomber wrote.
Pro-Russian Telegram channels had earlier reported that the pilots managed to land the Il-22 after it was hit. Zaluzhnyi, however, said that the plane had been destroyed.
The photo circulating on Russian Telegram channels