More than 3,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the Russian city of Belgorod on Saturday after an undetonated explosive was discovered. This came two days after a Russian Sukhoi-34 fighter-jet accidentally dropped a bomb on the same city, causing damage to houses and injuring several people. It is unclear if the bomb found on Saturday was from the same aircraft.
The city, which is located about 40km (25 miles) from the border with Ukraine, had 17 apartment buildings cordoned off “within a radius of 200 metres”, according to local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov. This affected 3,000 residents, who were later allowed to return home after the “shell” was removed. The undetonated device was found in the same area as the bomb that was dropped on Thursday evening, leaving a huge crater about 20 metres (60 ft) wide near the city centre.
The explosion was so powerful that it blew a car onto the roof of a nearby shop. The Russian defence ministry later admitted that one of its Su-34 jets had “accidentally discharged aircraft ordnance” over the city. CCTV footage of Thursday’s blast showed an object landing near a crossroads with passing cars and detonating about 18 seconds later.
This is not the first such incident – last October, an Su-34 crashed in the Russian city of Yeysk, killing at least 13 people. Russian jets often fly over Belgorod, which has a population of 370,000, on their way to Ukraine. The city has been subject to periodic Ukrainian attack since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine last year.