Russia acknowledged late on Thursday that one of its bombs accidentally hit the Russian city of Belgorod which is located near the border with Ukraine.
The city of 340,000 about 25 miles east of the border with Ukraine, has faced regular drone attacks that Russian authorities blame on the Ukrainian military, but the explosion 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 onto a store roof.
/3. More detailed video of Russian jet bombers bombing Belgorod yesterday. pic.twitter.com/hGbWVmum8O
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) April 21, 2023
CCTV footage of the incident suggests that local residents had a lucky escape. The video shows a series of cars passing a crossroads, before an object lands on the ground nearby.
There is no immediate explosion. The ordnance detonates approximately 18 seconds later, blowing up a section of the road, catching one of the cars as it passes and sending a parked car flying into the air before it lands on the supermarket roof.
It left a 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.
Immediately after the explosion, Russian commentators and military bloggers were abuzz with theories about what weapon Ukraine had used for the attack. Many called for a powerful retribution.
But later, the Russian Defense 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 1,100-pound bomb.
Russia, Ukraine rally troops
Earlier in the week, the leaders of Russia and Ukraine visited their respective forces near the frontline of the war which approaches its 14th month.
Vladimir Putin visited command posts of his forces fighting in Ukraine for the second time in two months. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made his latest trip near the front line seeking to stiffen the resolve of soldiers as Kyiv readies a possible counteroffensive with Western-supplied weapons.
Some of the most significant of those weapons appeared to have recently arrived in Ukraine. Germany’s official federal government website on Tuesday listed a Patriot surface-to-air guided missile system as among the military items delivered within the past week to Ukraine.
Ukraine has been pressing for Patriots and other air defense systems from its allies for months, and Germany’s appeared to be the first to have arrived.
Ukrainian air force spokesman Yurii Ihnat declined to confirm Tuesday that a Patriot is in Ukraine, local media outlet RBC-Ukraine reported, while stating that receiving the missiles would be a landmark event, allowing Ukraine forces to hit Russian targets at a greater distance.