On 26 February, Belarusian anti-government activists of the BYPOL Association of Security Forces of Belarus said they had blown up a Russian airborne early warning and control aircraft Beriev A-50, at the Belarusian airfield Machulishchy used by the Russian airspace forces.
Later, in its intelligence update, the British Defense Ministry called the loss of aircraft “significant,” as it is critical to Russian air operations for providing an air battlespace picture.
On 2 March, BYPOL published a video that shows a drone conducting a surveillance operation at the airfield in Belarusian Machulishchy used by Russian forces to target Ukraine.
The union of the security forces of Belarus, Bypol, published a longer clip part of which was earlier shared by Nasha Niva.
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) March 2, 2023
“For two weeks, Belarusian partisans conducted aerial reconnaissance at the Machulishchy military airfield with the help of civilian drones purchased at the store. During one of the successful reconnaissance operations, the drone not only flew into the protected area of the specified airfield, near the Russian A-50U airborne observation military aircraft, but even landed on its radar station,” BYPOL said.
Andriy Yusov, a representative of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense, said that currently, Russia doesn’t have the capabilities to produce A-50 radar planes, one of which Belarus partisans destroyed at Machulyshchy.
Though Belarus authorities continue to stress that the members of the resistance group inflicted minor damage to the A-50U, the monitoring group Belaruski Hayun said that the Russian military repaired the aircraft at a plant in Taganrog.