Russia Accidental Bombing in Belgorod

Russia’s military has admitted that one of its warplanes accidentally dropped a bomb that caused a powerful explosion in Belgorod, a city located about 40 kilometers east of the Russia-Ukraine border. The blast injured two people and damaged several cars, leaving a 20-meter-wide crater in the middle of a tree-lined avenue. Witnesses heard a low hissing sound before the explosion occurred.

Belgorod has been facing regular drone attacks during Russia’s current military operation in Ukraine, with Russian authorities blaming the earlier strikes on the Ukrainian military, which refrained from claiming responsibility for the attacks. However, the explosion on Thursday was far more powerful than anything Belgorod residents had experienced before, leading to speculation among Russian commentators and military bloggers about what weapon Ukraine had used for the attack. About an hour later, the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged that a weapon accidentally released by one of its own Su-34 bombers caused the blast.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not provide any further details, but military experts suggested that the weapon was likely a powerful 500-kilogram bomb that was set to explode with a small delay after impact, allowing it to hit underground facilities.

Some experts alleged that the bomb that was accidentally dropped on Belgorod could be one of a batch of modified munitions equipped with wings and GPS-guided targeting systems that allow them to glide to targets dozens of kilometers away. The Russian air force has only recently started using such gliding bombs, and some experts suggest that they could be prone to glitches.

Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said local authorities had temporarily resettled residents of a nine-story apartment building while it was inspected to ensure that it had not suffered structural damage that rendered it unsafe to live in.

Meanwhile, an anchor on Russian state television made an editorial gaffe by suggesting that “modern weapons” allowed Russian units to eliminate extremists from a minimal distance. The anchor looked visibly puzzled by the text that he had just read. Russian commentators questioned why the warplane flew over Belgorod and urged the military to avoid such risky overflights in the future.

Military experts have noted that as the number of Russian military flights has increased sharply during the fighting in Ukraine, so have crashes and misfires. In another deadly incident in the Belgorod region, two volunteer soldiers fired at Russian troops at a military firing range, killing 11 and wounding 15 others before being shot dead.

The explosion in Belgorod comes as tensions continue to rise between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine has accused Russia of amassing tens of thousands of troops on its border and in the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Russia has denied any intention of invading Ukraine but has said it will defend the rights of Russian speakers in Ukraine.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been ongoing since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and pro-Russian separatists seized control of parts of eastern Ukraine. The fighting has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, including civilians, and has displaced millions.

The accidental bombing in Belgorod underscores the dangers of military operations in populated areas and highlights the need for caution and vigilance. The incident is a reminder that even the most sophisticated military technology can be prone to errors and glitches that can have deadly consequences.

The incident also highlights the importance of transparency and accountability in military operations, as well as the need for effective communication and coordination between different branches of the military and with local authorities.