The Investigative Committee and the FSB military counterintelligence have accused Col. Mykola Dzyaman, commander of the 138th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), of downing an A-50U aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces. A court in Moscow has put him on the wanted list and convicted him in absentia, Kommersant reports, citing investigation materials.

Since the plane worth $350 million was attacked in the skies over Russia and was not directly involved in hostilities, a criminal case of terrorism was opened.

According to the investigation, on Feb. 23, 2024, a Russian A-50U aircraft was patrolling the airspace over the Krasnodar Krai. Col. Dzyaman allegedly realized that the aircraft was not directly intended for combat operations in Ukraine, was over Russian territory and was not armed, but gave his subordinates an order to attack it, Kommersant reports.

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On Feb 23, Ukraine shot down a Russian A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft, “landed” in the Sea of Azov, in a successful joint special operation of the Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR) and the Air Force of Ukraine.

HUR then reported that after the downing of the A50U, the Russians withdrew five more of their aircraft from combat operations. Some of them were planning to conduct air strikes near Avdiivka.

In April, the Ukrainian Forces shot down a Russian long-range strategic bomber, the TU-22M3 (NATO: Backfire), for the first time. Kyiv Post sources confirm that it was an operation planned and executed by the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine (HUR).

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The source said that an S-200 air defense system had been used to shoot down the Russian plane at about 300 kilometers (185 miles) from Ukraine.

According to Lt. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of HUR, the long-range Russian bomber plane that was shot down was returning to its base after it had fired on the city of Odesa causing significant destruction to civil infrastructure.

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