Ukraine Claims it Blasted 1st $40M Bomber Out of Russian Sky

Vladimir Vladimirov Telegram
Vladimir Vladimirov Telegram

Ukraine claims to be behind the fiery crash of a long-range Russian bomber on Friday morning, an incident which Moscow has attributed to a technical problem with the aircraft.

“For the first time, the anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force, in cooperation with the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, destroyed the Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber,” Ukrainian Air Force commander Mykola Oleschuk said in a statement. He said the bomber carries cruise missiles “which Russian terrorists use to attack peaceful Ukrainian cities.”

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Russia’s Ministry of Defense said the Tu-22M3, which reportedly cost around $40 million, crashed in the Stavropol region to the east of the annexed Crimean peninsula on Friday morning as the aircraft was returning from a combat mission. “According to preliminary data, the cause of the crash was a technical malfunction,” Russia’s RIA Novosti reported.

Videos circulating on social media appear to show the bomber engulfed in flames spiraling toward the ground. Stavropol Krai Governor Vladimir Vladimirov shared photos of the smoking wreckage on his Telegram account. He said that the crew had ejected before the crash; one of the personnel died, Vladimirov wrote in an update, adding that there is “no threat to the lives of the two pilots with whom the regional doctors are working.” A search was launched to find a missing fourth crew member.

An intelligence source informed Reuters that Ukraine used a modified Soviet-era surface-to-air missile—the S-200—to shoot down the bomber, which had been flying in Russian airspace around 200 miles from the border with Ukraine.

The crash came as at least seven people—including two children—were killed in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Friday. Local officials blamed Russian strikes for explosions in the city of Dnipro, where the main station and a residential building was hit. To the east, officials said an 8-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl were among five killed in a home in Synelnykove.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed condolences to the families of the dead and said the attacks show why every country supplying air defense systems to Kyiv is a “life saver.” “We must defeat Russian terror,” he wrote in a post on X. “It is necessary not only for our country and Ukrainians, but for the entire world.”

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