A Russian warplane accidentally fired a weapon at the town of Belgorod near Ukraine on Thursday night, causing an explosion and damaging buildings, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Late Thursday, local authorities reported a large explosion in the town, which is just across the border from Ukraine. Regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said three people were injured.
“As an Air Force Sukhoi Su-34 aircraft flew over the city of Belgorod, there was an accidental discharge of aviation ammunition,” the Defense Ministry said, according to the agency. Tass Russian press.
Gladkov, announcing the state of emergency, said on Telegram that there was a crater measuring 20 meters (65 feet) in diameter in one of the main streets. Four cars and four buildings were damaged, he added.
“Thank God there are no fatalities,” Gladkov said in a statement on Telegram.
The Ministry of Defense did not specify what type of weapon it was. The Su-34 is a supersonic fighter-bomber. Tass reported that the ministry announced that an investigation was underway.
Video footage from the area posted to social media on Friday appeared to show a powerful explosion near a busy street at night. Other images showed piles of concrete in the street, several damaged cars and a building with broken windows. An image showed what appeared to be an upside-down car on the roof of a store.
The Belgorod region is one of many areas in southern Russia where targets such as fuel and ammunition stores have been rocked by explosions since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian jets frequently fly over the city en route to Ukraine.
Thursday’s explosion once again highlights the strain of the 14-month-old war on the Russian military machine. Last October, a Russian military plane crashed into a residential building shortly after taking off near the border with Ukraine, causing a major fire that killed 15 people. A total of at least 10 Russian military planes have crashed after malfunctioning since Moscow launched its invasion in February, according to the Bell, a Russian news outlet.