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Ukraine’s military says it has shot down a Russian military spy plane over the Sea of Azov, in what analysts say would be a blow to Moscow’s air power.

Army chief Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi said the air force had “destroyed” an A-50 long range radar detection aircraft, and an Il-22 air control centre.

The A-50 detects air defences and coordinates targets for Russian jets.

Ukraine has struggled to make significant recent advances against Russian forces in the south-east.

A briefing from the UK’s Ministry of Defence on 23 February said that Russia “likely” had six operational A-50s in service. The planes can cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build.

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