Belarus’ exiled opposition claimed on Sunday that “partisans” in Belarus destroyed a Russian A-50 military surveillance aircraft in an airfield near Minsk.
“Partisans … confirmed a successful special operation to blow up a rare Russian plane at the airfield in Machulishchy near Minsk,” said Franak Viacorka, an advisor to opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who is based in Lithuania.
Tsikhanouskaya has received support from the US since fleeing Belarus after the 2020 elections that saw President Alexander Lukashenko win another term. The US and EU rejected the election results and increased sanctions on Belarus, steps that brought Minsk and Moscow closer together.
Viacorka said on Twitter that the Russian aircraft was attacked with two drones and that the perpetrators had already left the country. The destruction of the A-50 plane hasn’t been confirmed, as the Kremlin declined to comment on the incident.
Viacorka said the claimed attack was the “most successful diversion since the beginning of 2022,” referring to reported attacks by Belarusian saboteurs on Russian supply lines inside Belarus during the first days of the war.
Jack Murphy, an investigative journalist and US special operations veteran, reported in December that the CIA has been using a European NATO country’s intelligence services to conduct sabotage attacks inside Russia. Murphy’s report, which has yet to be verified, said attacks on Russian supply lines in Belarus were also backed by the CIA.