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Ukraine military destroys Russian surveillance plane

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Ukraine said Friday it had shot down an A-50U Russian spy plane over the Sea of Azov, and shared a map appearing to show it had crashed over southern Russia.

Moscow made no official comment, but authorities in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region said fire crews were at the scene of an air crash, without elaborating.

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“Another valuable Russian A-50U aircraft was shot down over the Sea of Azov,” Ukrainian military intelligence said in a post on social media.

“The downing of the A-50U is another serious blow to the potential and capabilities of terrorist Moscow,” it added.

The A-50 is a Russian reconnaissance plane, equivalent to the AWACS (Airborne warning and control system) plane used by NATO.

Ukraine last claimed to have shot down an A-50 aircraft in January, also over the Azov Sea which lies between Russia and Ukraine.

AFP was not able to immediately verify the nature of the crash or which aircraft was destroyed.

Videos on social media showed multiple flashes of light on a dark night sky, followed by another showing a large blaze in what appeared to be a rural area.

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The Krasnodar regional authorities said firefighting units were responding to a blaze “of about 250 square meters” and that no local houses were at risk.

It said “two aircraft” had been involved in the incident, but did not specify what they were.

“At the moment the fire is being liquidated. Law enforcement and special services are also working on the site,” they said.

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