Moscow has admitted that a bomb accidentally dropped by one of its warplanes caused a huge explosion in Belgorod, a Russian city near the Ukrainian border, terrifying residents and leaving three in hospital.
The mishap, involving a Russian Sukhoi-34 supersonic fighter jet, shook and damaged several buildings and hurled a car onto the roof of a store.
The bomb left a 66-foot-wide crater in the middle of a tree-lined boulevard flanked by apartment buildings, shattering their windows.
Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov declared a state of emergency, saying three people were injured, including two women. “Thank God there are no deaths,” he said in a statement on Telegram.
“While a Sukhoi Su-34 air force plane was flying over the city of Belgorod, there was an accidental discharge of aviation ammunition,” Tass quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying, without providing further details about the type of weapon that was fired. .
An investigation into the incident has been opened, the ministry said.
Just 24 miles from the Ukrainian border, Belgorod has previously been targeted by Ukrainian drones since the start of Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion.
The explosion in Belgorod followed the crash of a Russian fighter jet next to a residential building in the Azov Sea port city of Yeysk that killed 15 people.
Yeysk is home to a large Russian airbase with fighter jets flying missions over Ukraine.