A Russian spy aircraft was destroyed by two drones at a Russian airbase in Belarus, according to a report in Independent. The plane, worth 274 million pounds (Rs 2,737 crore), was hit in an attack by anti-government activists in Belarus that support Ukraine, the outlet further reported. This comes shortly after the Russian government announced temporary closure Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg. The decision was taken after media reports claimed a drone was spotted in the area. The operations, however, resumed after a few hours.
The spy plane, which was shot down was AWACS Beriev A-50U, the Independent report said. It was “significantly damaged”, the outlet further said quoting the Belarusian Hajun project, and the front and central parts of the aircraft, its avionics and radar antennae were hit.
Metro said the aircraft arrived in Machulishchi, near Belarusian capital Minsk, on December 14. It has been used since the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year to locate bombing targets for Mr Putin’s air force.
The outlet further said that a military transport aircraft and snow-clearing vehicles were also damaged in the drone attack.
Neither Russia nor Belarus have so far commented on the incident but a search operation has been launched by local police and security services.
Meanwhile, data from the FlightRadar24 website showed a number of flights headed for St. Petersburg turning back to their destinations early on Tuesday, while the airspace closure also appeared to affect flights en route to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which requires planes to fly over St. Petersburg.
By 1200 local time, flights had resumed flying towards St. Petersburg, the FlightRadar24 website showed.
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