On April 21, 2023, a Russian fighter jet, identified as a Sukhoi-34, mistakenly dropped a bomb on the city of Belgorod, which is around 40 km from the border with Ukraine. The incident caused significant damage, including a 20-meter-wide crater, and injured at least three people.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that the aircraft had accidentally discharged a weapon and described the incident as “an accidental discharge of aircraft ordnance” on Thursday at 22:15 local time (19:15 GMT). It was a formal method of expressing that the jet had unintentionally discharged a weapon. It didn’t say which one, though.
In close proximity to residential structures and at the crossroads of two roads, the bomb landed. The governor reported that two women were treated at a hospital. However, the results may have been much worse if a Russian bomber struck a crowded residential area. Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov stated that as a precaution, authorities had ordered the evacuation of a nine-story apartment building that was damaged.
According to the military, an inquiry into the incident has begun. According to pro-government news outlet Moskovsky Komsomolets, which cited a former military pilot, “lessons will be learned, but the results are unlikely to be made public.”
By dawn, Belgorod’s bustling crossroads was being repaired by maintenance personnel. The majority of the work, according to the mayor, will be done over the weekend, and the road will be resurfaced on Monday.
The Russian military may find the admission of “an accident” embarrassing, but it shows that local officials do not think the incident would negatively affect perceptions of what the Kremlin still refers to as its “special military operation” in Russia. Accidents occur during times of war and conflict, sometimes with tragic results. At least 13 people were killed when a Sukhoi fighter jet, this time a Su-34, crashed in the Russian city of Yeysk in October.