Two Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft belonging to Russian military were shot down by Ukrainian forces south of Kyiv, reports confirm. 

The Ukrainian military announced that it shot down two heavy transporters with airborne troops on February 26, 2022. However, the claims were difficult to verify due to the ongoing situation in Ukraine’s capital. 

Later in the day, Associated Press reported that the first aircraft went down near Vasylkiv, approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Kyiv, and the second crashed near Bila Tserkva, 85 kilometers (50 miles) south of the capital.  

According to AP, two American officials close to the matter verified the claims. 

Numerous NATO airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and drones have been a constant presence in the skies just west of Ukraine and above the Black sea, monitoring the situation over the war-torn country. 

On February 24, just hours after launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia announced that Ukrainian air defenses and other military infrastructure had been disabled with “high precision weaponry”.  

According to Ukrainian military, one of the Il-76 transporters was shot down by Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 fighter jet. However, this claim has not been independently verified. 

Ukrainian military also said both Russian transports were laden with airborne troops. The claim follows numerous accounts of Russian paratroopers landing in the vicinity of Kyiv, as the city sees its fourth day of heavy fighting. 

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