Lukashenko alleges ‘Ukrainian terrorist’ detained after attack on plane at Machulyshchi
Alexander Lukashenko (Photo:BelTA/Handout via REUTERS)
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko says his security forces have detained “terrorist from the Ukrainian special services and his accomplices” who were involved in an attack on a Russian plane at the Belarusian Machulyshchi airfield, the Belta news agency reported on March 7.
The Russian A-50U long-range radar detection and control aircraft of the Russian Air Force was damaged on Feb. 26 when two drones are thought to have landed on it and exploded.
Lukashenko claimed the training of an allegedly Russian IT professional with Russian and Ukrainian passports was started by Ukraine’s SBU and the CIA “half a year or eight months ago”, and he was “recruited” back in 2014. Referring to the Belarusian KGB security service, the dictator said that the “terrorist” allegedly has relatives in Kyiv and Austria.
He gave no evidence to back up his claims.
Lukashenko said a small drone was chosen for the attack because a large one “would be tracked by our surveillance systems.”
Officials in Kyiv have not yet commented on Lukashenko’s claims.
On Feb. 26, two explosions were reportedly heard at Machulyshchi military air base, which is 12 kilometers away from the Belarusian capital and is used by Russian aviation. According to preliminary data, the A-50U long-range radar detection and control aircraft of the Russian Air Force was damaged.
Alexander Azarov, head of the Belarusian opposition initiative BYPOL, said that the sabotage was organized by Belarusian partisans.
After the attack, Belarusian border guards increased security checks at the border. According to the human rights organization Vyasna, at least six people were detained after the explosion at the airport in Belarus.
The monitoring group Belarusian Hajun reported on Telegram on March 2 that the A-50 had flown to Russia, probably to the 25th Aviation Repair Plant in Taganrog.
The BYPOL stated that the three-coordinate radar station (locator) and damage in the area of the faring of the antenna of the satellite radio line in the front part of the aircraft may be damaged. According to the initiative, the attack was carried out with the help of two drones, which each carried 200 grams of TNT-equivalent explosives and a striking element — metal balls.
The only possible signs of damage to the aircraft on satellite images are traces of dark spots on the aircraft’s radar antenna and a dark spot on the right wing.
Later, video released by “Belarusian partisans” showed the view from a drone apparently flying to and landing on the satellite communications faring of an A-50 plane, which is located on top of the fuselage, behind the cockpit. Shortly after landing, the signal from the drone is lost, with only static showing — presumably because the drone has exploded.
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