FACT CHECK: Post Claims NATO Shot Down Russian Cargo Plane

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A post shared on X claims the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) admitted it shot down a Russian cargo plane.

Verdict: False

Ukraine shot down the aircraft, not NATO. The aircraft that was shot down was a surveillance plane, not a cargo one.

Fact Check:

Ukraine claimed to have hit three air defense systems in the Crimea in missile strikes earlier in June, according to Reuters. The claimed air defense systems included included a S-400 system and two S-300 systems, the outlet reported.

Social media users are claiming that the U.S. military admitted that a Russian cargo plane was shot down by NATO.

“Update: NATO shot down a Russian cargo aircraft with their Patriot Missile System in January, but is just admitting it now!! US Army Europe says that the Russian A-50U military cargo aircraft that was shot down in January 2024 was hit by a NATO Patriot Missile Battery.…” one user wrote.

This claim is false. What actually occurred was that Col. Rosanna Clemente, a U.S. Army officer, said during a symposium that a Russian A-50 aircraft was shot down by a Ukrainian Patriot air defense system, according to The War Zone. The video of Col. Clemente’s remarks was also published to X.

“Others are being moved around and doing some really, really historic things that I’ve haven’t seen in 22 years of being an air defender, and one of them is a SAMbush …they’re doing that with extremely mobile Patriot systems that were donated by the Germans, because the systems are all mounted on the trucks. So they’re moving around and they’re using these types of systems, bringing them close to the plot … and stretching the very, very edges of the kinematic capabilities of that system to engage the first A-50 C2 system back in January,” Col. Clemente said, according to the video and The War Zone.

The Patriot system used to shoot down the A-50 was provided by Germany, according to Col. Clemente. The officer does not say that NATO shot down the Russian A-50.

The A-50 is not a cargo plane, but an airborne early warning aircraft, according to SKYbrary. Ukraine has claimed to have shot down two of these aircraft, BBC News reported in February.

Check Your Fact reached out to the U.S. Army and NATO for comment. (RELATED: Did Joe Biden Authorize The FBI To Use’ Deadly Force’ During The Mar-A-Lago Raid?)

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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