A Russian warplane accidentally dropped a bomb on one of its own cities, the Russian Defence Ministry said on Friday. The blast wounded three people and spread panic in a major city along the border with Ukraine.
“At around 22:15 Moscow time on April 20, when a Su-34 plane of the Russian Aerospace Forces was performing a flight above the city of Belgorod, an emergency release of an air ordnance occurred,” the Russian defense ministry said in a statement to TASS, which didn’t specify the weapon that caused the damage. The Sukhoi Su-34 is a supersonic fighter-bomber jet.
But the Russian military quickly acknowledged that it was a bomb accidentally dropped by one of its own warplane.
According to media reports, Belgorod, a city of 340,000 about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the border, has faced regular drone attacks that Russian authorities blame on the Ukrainian military, but the explosion late Thursday was far more powerful than anything its residents had heard before.
Witnesses reported a low hissing sound followed by a blast that made nearby apartment buildings tremble and threw a car on a store roof. It left a 20-metre (66-foot) wide crater in the middle of a tree-lined boulevard flanked by apartment buildings, shattering their windows, damaging several cars and injuring two residents. A third person was later hospitalized with hypertension.
But about an hour later, the Russian Defence Ministry acknowledged that the explosion was caused by a weapon accidentally dropped by one of its own Su-34 bombers. It didn’t offer any further details, but military experts said the weapon likely was a powerful 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) bomb.