The Ukrainian military shot down Russian A-50 and Il-22 aircraft over the Sea of Azov. Both aircraft were destroyed on the evening of January 14, Valery Zaluzhny, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said.
The Kremlin has no information about the loss of two military aircraft over the Sea of Azov, Putin official spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters January 15 and recommended contacting the Defence Ministry for clarifications.
The Ilyushin Il-22 was damaged and stayed in midair for some time trying to reach the nearest airfield, but went off radar screens in the Kerch region, Ukrainian MPs Mysyagin and Fedchenko said.
At the time of the strike, the Il-22 was on duty in the Strelkovoe area in the Kherson region, whereas the A-50 was in the Kirillovka area in the Zaporozhye region, sources in the Ukrainian Armed Forces said.
Russian military correspondent Yuri Podolyaka confirmed the shootdown of the A-50. Podolyaka also said that the Il-22 managed to land.
Losing the A-50 would come as a serious blow to the Russian aviation industry as the country only a few of such AWACS aircraft in service. They are always in short supply at the front, Podolyaka said.
The Il-22M is an aerial command post, and A-50 is a long-range radar detection aircraft. The cost of the latter is estimated at $330 million for the basic version, and $500 million for the modernised version.
A Russian fighter with call sign Rassvet (Sunrise) destroyed an Abrams tank in the area of Avdiivka, the 15th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade said