Day 691: Ukraine shoots down Russian A-50 plane, marking first time in history early warning and control plane was taken down

Ukraine’s Air Force shoots down Russia’s A-50 surveillance plane and IL-22 command aircraft. Russia targets military sites, not the energy grid like last winter, Ukraine’s defense intelligence says. Russian forces try to capture Novomykhaylivka, in Donetsk region.

Ukraine’s Air Force shoots down Russia’s A-50 surveillance plane, IL-22 command aircraft

The Ukrainian Air Force shot down a Russian A-50 early warning and control plane and an IL-22 airborne command post in the Azov Sea region, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said in a statement on Monday. He attached a video to his social media post with an airplane tracker showing two targets disappearing above the Azov Sea.

Reports of the downing of two Russian military aircraft by Ukrainian forces surfaced on social media late on Sunday, January 14. Ukrainian Air Force Commander, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk said in a cryptic message early on Monday: “This is for Dnipro! Burn in hell, monsters! Can’t provide details yet.” 

Spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force Command, Colonel Yuriy Ihnat later said in a post on Facebook that the IL-22 targeted was able to make a landing in Anapa, but said it appeared “beyond repair.” “The A-50 early warning and control plane has been our priority target. Until today, the destruction of the aircraft seemed an impossible task for Ukraine’s Air Force,” he added.

This is the first time in history that an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft was taken down, Ukrainian news site offering military expertise, Defense Express said. Traditionally, such aircraft are kept at a safe distance from areas of active fighting and out of range of the enemy’s air defense systems. They are also escorted by fighters to protect them from hostile attacks, the web site said.

“No one in history has ever shot down an early warning and control plane. The Ukrainian Armed Forces once again did what had been considered impossible, what no one had done before,” the news piece reads.

Russia aims at military sites, not energy grid like last winter, Ukraine’s defense intelligence says

Russia has focused its recent major air strikes on Ukraine’s military sites, unlike last winter when the country’s energy grid was its main target. But the threat to Ukraine’s energy facilities remains high, representative of the Main Intelligence Department of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, Major General Vadym Skibitskyi said in an interview with RBC Ukraine.

Russia has recently targeted “sites of our military industry, headquarters, control systems and separate units that are located on the front lines,” he was quoted as saying.

“How accurate are the strikes? Russia does not achieve the goals it set out to accomplish. The weapons it uses, particularly, Kinzhal missiles are very inaccurate. Unfortunately, they mostly result in civilian suffering,” Skibitskyi said.

Russia continues to spy on Ukraine’s energy facilities, he added.

“They have analyzed the strikes on our energy sites in 2022-2023 to identify most critical sites that could be targeted with missiles and drones,” he explained.

Russia continues to get satellite imagery of Ukraine’s energy facilities to “launch such strikes if possible and if necessary,” Skibitskyi said. That’s why the threat to the energy system remains, he added.

Russian forces try to capture Novomykhaylivka, in Donetsk region

Russian forces are trying to capture Novomykhaylivka, in Donetsk region, spokesperson for the joint press center of Ukraine’s defense forces in the Tavria direction, Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun said in televised comments on Monday.

“The enemy is most active in the Maryinka and Avdiyivka directions. They try to encircle Avdiyivka and they now aim to enter Novomykhailivka to fully capture it,” he said.

In the past three days, Russian forces carried out intense air strikes. There were 41 air strikes in the past day alone, Shtupun said. They also continue assault and offensive operations.

“They have returned to the use of armored vehicles. In the past week, there have been, on average, 50 daily combat engagements in the area of responsibility for the Tavria operational strategic group,” he said. Fighting was heaviest in the Avdiyivka and Maryinka directions, he added.

Novomykhaylivka sits 12 kilometers south of Maryinka, in Donetsk region.

Russia’s likely capture of Maryinka in Donetsk Oblast represents a limited Russian tactical gain and does not portend any operationally significant advance, the Institute for the Study of War said in a report in late December.

One of Russia’s operational objectives in the area is likely to secure the 00510 (Oleksandrivka-Kramatorsk) and N15 (Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk) highways to eventually advance further west towards the town of Kurakhove, British Defence Intelligence said in its latest update on Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Yurts of Invincibility: One Year Strong in Kazakh Solidarity with Ukraine. Ukraine in Flames #559

Representatives of the Kazakh community installed several Yurts of Invincibility last year in Bucha, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv and other Ukrainian cities. Yurts of Invincibility were received in Ukraine with particular warmth, because on the one hand they have a practical meaning – as the usual Ukrainian “Point of Invincibility”, where you can warm up, drink tea, have access to electricity, and on the other hand, by opening the Yurts of Invincibility, the Kazakhs seem to open the door of their home. Watch Ukraine in flames #559 to find out about Yurts of Invincibility that opened in Ukraine last year and delve into their achievements over the past year and explore how they have significantly strengthened relations between Ukraine and Kazakhstan.


  • Serhiy Nahorniak, People’s Deputy of Ukraine, Head of the Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group “Ukraine – Kazakhstan”
  • Asiya Melnyk, Volunteer of the Kyiv Yurt of Invincibility
  • Saule Rovna, Volunteer of the Charitable Foundation “Yurt of Invincibility”