The Russian Defence Ministry has confirmed that a Russian fighter jet accidentally bombed the city of Belgorod, located close to the Ukrainian border. Regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reported that the blast had left a huge crater around 20 metres (60 ft) wide in the city centre, with three people injured and several buildings damaged. One apartment block was evacuated as a result.
The ministry stated that the Su-34 fighter-bomber jet had released the bomb at 22:15 local time (19:15 GMT) on Thursday, with no explanation given other than an “abnormal descent of aviation ammunition”. The bomb landed at an intersection of two roads not far from the city centre, close to residential buildings. Two women were taken to hospital for treatment and a nine-storey apartment block was evacuated due to potential structural damage.
Social media posts have revealed photos and videos of the destruction caused by the blast, with one car ending up on the roof of a local shop next to a block of flats. Despite the difficult night endured by Belgorod’s residents, the regional governor has expressed his confidence that they will get through it.
Belgorod is a city of 370,000 people, located 25 miles (40 km) from the Ukrainian border. It lies just north of Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, and has been living in fear of Ukrainian shelling since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year. Russian jets have also been seen regularly flying over the city on their way to Ukraine.
An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the bombing. The incident has highlighted the ongoing tension between Russia and Ukraine, with Belgorod’s residents left to pick up the pieces after this unfortunate accident.