Vladimir Putin's £274 million spy plane 'destroyed by drones' as pro-Ukraine partisans swoop

27 February 2023, 13:48 | Updated: 27 February 2023, 14:01

A Russian spy plane has been destroyed
A Russian spy plane has been destroyed. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Vladimir Putin's spy plane has been destroyed by drones operated by Belarusian rebels, according to reports.

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The £274 million plane was hit in Belarus by pro-Ukrainian partisans, according to the Belarusian Hajun project.

The AWACS Beriev A-50U aircraft took significant damage, with the front and central parts of the aircraft, its avionics and radar antennae were hit.

The plane is “actively employed” Russia for “accomplishing missions in the special operation”, according to Russian newswire TASS.

There were several explosions reportedly heard at the Machulishchi military base in Belarus, where planes have been arriving ahead of taking part in the war. Belarus, to the north of Ukraine and west of Russia, is a Russian ally.

Aliaksandr Azarov, head of BYPOL Association of Belarus partisans, told the local Belsat publication: "These were drones.

The war in Ukraine has been going for a year
The war in Ukraine has been going for a year. Picture: Getty

“The participants of the operation were Belorussians, taking part in the ‘Peramoga’ [Belarus for Victory) plan.“They are now safely outside the country. They have all gone.

[The Belarus security services] may keep looking for them but they will have the same luck as searching for wind in a field.”

A local resident said: “Half of Machulishchi is cordoned off. Lots of soldiers everywhere. We saw five military vehicles with machine guns. They are stopping all cars and minibuses there, checking bags and car boots.”

A military transport aircraft and vehicles used to clear snow were also damaged in the attack.

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Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denied any knowledge.

“No, we have nothing to say here. This information that was published, it was about Belarus, and Belarus denied it."

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