Ukraine claims downing spy plane as Russian drones hit residential building in Odesa

Social media videos show aircraft on fire, though military sources offer conflicting accounts

Saturday marks the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine as Russian forces appear to be gaining momentum against munitions-starved Ukrainian defenders. Getty Images
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Ukraine's military has announced the downing of a Russian spy plane, the second such incident in recent months.

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry reported late on Friday on the social media platform X that its air force had successfully destroyed an A-50 long-range radar detection and control aircraft.

Commander of air defence forces Mykola Oleshchuk expressed his gratitude on Telegram to military intelligence and “everyone who ensured the result”.

Russian military bloggers have acknowledged the loss of an A-50 but proposed that friendly fire was the cause.

Meanwhile, state-run news service Tass reported that an unidentified flying object had crashed in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia, starting a fire.

The incident echoes a similar occurrence last month when Ukraine claimed to have shot down another A-50 over the Sea of Azov.

The A-50 plays a crucial role in the Russian military, detecting air defence systems, guiding missiles and co-ordinating targets for fighter jets.

In a separate statement, Ukrainian military intelligence described the downing of the A-50U, stating the aircraft had crashed in southern Russia.

It was described as “another serious blow to the potential and capabilities of terrorist Moscow”.

Although Moscow has not issued an official response, Krasnodar regional authorities reported that fire crews had been sent to an air crash site.

They did not provide details but mentioned that the fire covered an area of about 250 square metres and posed no threat to local residences.

Authorities also noted that “two aircraft” were involved, without further clarification.

Social media videos captured the incident, showing several flashes of light followed by a large fire in a rural setting.

Local officials have stated that efforts to extinguish the fire are under way, with law enforcement and special services on the scene.

Russia targets residential buildings in Odesa

Russian drones attacked Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odesa on Friday for the second night running, hitting a residential building, killing one person and injuring three, the regional governor said.

Oleh Kiper, writing on Telegram, said the body of a man had been recovered from under rubble. Three people were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

“We have no certainty about the information from neighbouring residents and therefore can't be sure,” Mr Kiper told national television.

“So the search and clearing operation will continue until the last brick is removed to make sure no one is left there.”

Pictures posted online showed a number of buildings engulfed in flames.

Updated: February 23, 2024, 11:52 PM