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Ukraine says it took out one of Russia’s supersonic strategic bombers for the first time

Published:

  • Ukraine claims to have shot down a Russian Tu-22M3 supersonic bomber in war first.

  • The aircraft was hit in Russia’s Stavropol region.

  • The bomber was on its way to attack Ukraine, said the air forces.

Ukraine has shot down a Russian Tu-22M3 supersonic bomber for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv’s military intelligence said.

In a statement released early Friday, the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine (GUR) said it had taken out one of the strategic long-range bombers that had “launched a missile attack against Ukraine on the night of April 19.”

The operation was coordinated with Ukraine’s Air Force. The aircraft that Ukraine and its Western allies say Russia has frequently used to bomb was hit inside southern Russia around 200 miles from Ukraine.

“For the first time, the anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force, in cooperation with Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, destroyed a Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber — the carrier of Kh-22 cruise missiles, which the Russian terrorists use to attack peaceful Ukrainian cities,” Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said in a statement.

The Tu-22M3 is designed to attack ground and sea targets with guided missiles and bombs. The NATO codename for it is Backfire.

In a video circulating across social media, what appears to be a burning Tu-22M3 can be seen falling from the sky before it hits the ground.

Business Insider could not independently verify when or where the footage was filmed.

It would be the first time Ukraine has managed to destroy a Russian strategic bomber since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Before the GUR’s statement, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that a Tu-22M3 aircraft had crashed in a “deserted area” due to a “technical malfunction,” according to Russian state media.

According to Stavropol Governor Vladimir Vladimirov, the plane came down in the region’s Krasnogvardeysky District. Vladimirov claimed two pilots had successfully ejected from the aircraft. A third pilot was killed and a fourth is currently missing.

Tu-22M3 bomber on fire after crash-landing in Stavropol

Tu-22M3 aircraft appears to be on fire after crash-landing in StavropolVladimir Vladimirov

Ukrainian military intelligence spokesperson Andrii Yusov told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that a second Russian aircraft had been forced to turn back to base after the first one was shot down.

“It means that another series of missiles were not launched at Ukraine,” Yusov said.

The Tu-22M3 has been a key target for Ukrainian air defense. Russian forces use Tu-22M3, often armed with AS-4 heavy anti-ship or Kh-22 cruise missiles, in airstrikes against Ukraine. In 2022, Russia used the Tu-22M3 to pummel the besieged city of Mariupol, per The National Interest.

In August last year, Ukraine’s chief spy, Kyrylo Budanov, said intelligence estimates put Russia’s Tu-22M3 fleet at 27 operable aircraft.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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