In the most successful diversion since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, as a Belarus opposition has described it, a Russian military aircraft was blown up by the Belarusian anti-war partisans who have claimed responsibility.
The sophisticated Russian military surveillance aircraft, a Beriev A-50, has allegedly fallen victim to a drone attack at an airfield near the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Sunday (26 February) that Belarusian anti-government activists have claimed responsibility for.
As a result of two explosions in the attack, the front and central parts of the aircraft as well as the radar antenna were damaged.
An airborne early warning aircraft, Beriev A-50, which has the NATO reporting name of Mainstay, has command and control capabilities and the ability to track up to 60 targets at a time.
Aliaksandr Azarov, leader of Belarusian anti-government organization BYPOL – which includes former law enforcement officers who support opposition politicians and has been branded a terrorist organization – said that the participants of the operation are Belarusian that are now safe and outside the country.
Previously on Monday, the Belarusian human rights group Vyasna reported that a woman was detained in Machulishchy but there’s no information on whether her detention was related to the alleged sabotage of the aircraft nor on her current whereabouts.
Russia nor Belarus confirmed the alleged attack and there was no immediate response from their defense ministries to requests for comment.
There have been several acts of sabotage in Russian regions bordering Ukraine – especially on the railway system – and in Belarus since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago, but as Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s adviser Franak Viacorka pointed out, this was the most successful act of sabotage since the beginning of 2022.
Tsikhanouskaya, on the other hand, stressed in a post on Twitter that she’s proud of all Belarusians who fight for the freedom of Ukraine and continue to resist the Russian hybrid occupation of Belarus.