In the dark cloak of night over the Sea of Azov on Friday, February 23rd, the Ukrainian Air Force etched another notch in its belt, sending a Russian A-50 spy plane spiraling into the abyss.

This wasn’t the first rodeo for Kyiv’s aces; it marked the second time this year they’ve clipped the wings of one of Russia’s airborne jewels, a machine more at home in the cold expanse of the sky than on the fiery ground.

The Price of Aerial Supremacy

The A-50, a behemoth of surveillance that prides itself on peering into Ukraine’s defenses, became a smoldering testament to the escalating dance of hostility between neighbors.

Housing up to 15 souls and boasting a price tag north of at least around $300 million, the fall of such a bird is no small affair.