Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Russian residents of Belgorod received something of the ‘Ukraine experience’ on the night of 20 April 2023 when a Russian Su-34 strike aircraft inadvertently bombed the city.

Perhaps surprisingly admitting to the incident rather than blaming a Ukrainian missile, the Russian Defence Ministry stated that an “abnormal aircraft munition release” occurred when an Su-34 flew over Belgorod and that an investigation was underway.

While the Russian Defence Ministry claimed there were no casualties, local media reports said that four people had been hospitalised as a result of the explosion, while images on social media showed a 20 m crater near a major intersection and a number of damaged cars, including one that had been blown onto the roof of a nearby building.

A Russian Su-34 strike aircraft: the type that inadvertently dropped ordnance on the Russian city of Belgorod on the night of 20 April. (Photo: Dmitry Chushkin/Wikimedia Commons)

Footage from video cameras in the vicinity captured the event, showing the initial impact of the bomb, with local traffic attempting to drive around the initial hole in the road that it made, before the munition subsequently detonated, creating a large fireball and crater.

Belgorod is north of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, about 30 km from the Ukrainian border.

Piotr Butowksi, a specialist in Russian military aviation, noted on Twitter that the falling of the bomb on Belgorod was not the first case of such an event and that “Russians suffer [a] significant number of such failures. But before that, bombs fell in villages, not in a city center.”

Peter Felstead