Russia’s defense ministry has set a new standard in euphemisms after it announced last night that a huge explosion in the center of the city of Belgorod was caused by the “abnormal descent of aviation ammunition.”
What does that actually mean?
In short, the Russians bombed themselves.
On Thursday evening, local officials reported a massive explosion in Belgorod, saying the blast had left a crater in the city center and injured two women.
Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belogrod region, said the blast had sent a shock wave that damaged four apartments and four cars and downed power line poles.
"An explosion took place," Gladkov said on the Telegram messaging app, adding that investigators and representatives of Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations were at the scene.
What did the investigators find?
This massive crater for a start…
Russian MoD admits its own SU-34 "inadvertently" bombed Russian city of Belgorod, creating a massive crater and damaging residential buildings (says no civilian casualties) pic.twitter.com/8AnVEYioCl— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) April 21, 2023
Gladkov’s pictures, posted on Telegram. also showed irate-looking locals, the inside of their now-destroyed apartments, and streets covered in debris and wrecked vehicles.
Citing preliminary information, Gladkov said one woman was hospitalized with a head injury, while another woman was treated at the scene. The city’s mayor said residents of the damaged buildings would be temporarily moved to hotels.
Did he say what caused the blast?
No, but the Russian defense ministry later released a statement saying a fighter aircraft had lost ammunition over Belgorod.
"During the flight of the Su-34 aircraft of the aerospace forces over the city of Belgorod, an abnormal descent of aviation ammunition has occurred," the ministry said. The statement carried by Russian news agencies added that the incident had taken place at 22:15 local time.
Russian jets have regularly flown sorties over Belgorod since the launch of Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Is this the first time such an incident has occurred in Belgorod?
While to date the Russians have managed to avoid dropping bombs on their own city-dwellers, the region of Belgorod has been repeatedly shelled since Russian President Vladimir Putin poured troops into Ukraine last February.
In January this year, Gladkov told Putin that 25 people had been killed and more than 90 injured in the region since the start of the offensive.
In October 2022, an SU-34 jet crashed into a residential building in the southern city of Yeysk, also near the border with Ukraine, killing 16 people, including several children.
What has Ukraine said?
There’s been no official word from Kyiv on the incident, but on social media there was little sympathy given that the devastation in Belgorod last night is a regular scene in cities across Ukraine.
One Ukrainian simply tweeted: “Maybe it’s a sign for russians to stop.”
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter