Ukraine downs Russian strategic bomber after airstrike kills eight, Kyiv says By Reuters

By Tom Balmforth and Anastasiia Malenko

KYIV/DNIPRO, Ukraine (Reuters) -Ukraine shot down a Russian strategic bomber 300 km (185 miles) from its border on Friday after the warplane took part in an airstrike that killed at least eight people, including two children, in the central Dnipropetrovsk region, Kyiv said.

Missiles rained down on the city of Dnipro and the surrounding region in the early hours, damaging residential buildings, the main train station and wounding at least 28 civilians, regional officials said.

Russia has stepped up its long-range aerial assaults on Ukraine’s energy system and other targets in recent weeks, ratcheting up the pressure on Kyiv far behind the front lines where Russian forces have been slowly advancing in the east.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for urgent supplies of air defences from Kyiv’s allies as Ukraine’s stocks dwindle due to a slowdown in vital Western military aid.

“Russia must be held accountable for its terror, and every missile, every Shahed (drone) must be shot down,” he said. “The world can guarantee this, and our partners have the necessary capabilities.”

In a first for Ukraine during the invasion, Kyiv’s air force commander and military spy agency said they had shot down a Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber that had fired missiles at Ukraine during the overnight attack.

The warplane, they said, had been flying in Russian airspace 300 km from the Ukrainian border.

An intelligence source told Reuters that Kyiv had used a modified S-200 air defence missile for the attack, but did not say where it had been fired from. The S-200 is a Soviet-era long-range surface-to-air missile system.

Unconfirmed social media footage showed a warplane with its tail on fire spiralling towards the ground.

The Russian defence ministry said the bomber had crashed in Russia’s southern Stavropol region, hundreds of kilometres from Ukrainian-controlled territory, as it returned to base after carrying out a combat mission.

But it said the crash appeared to have been caused by technical malfunction.

The four Russian air force crew members ejected from the warplane; two were rescued, one died and a rescue operation was under way for the fourth, the Russian regional governor said.


Civilians in a residential building that was hit in Dnipro said they were shaken up. The five-storey building’s top floor was partially destroyed, officials said. Firefighters battled to put out a fire early in the morning.

“My wife and daughter are in shock. They say they won’t go back to the apartment and asked me to evacuate them somewhere because they won’t be able to stay here anymore,” said Serhii, a resident.

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 15 missiles, including two Kh-22 cruise missiles and 14 drones overnight.

Air defences shot down 11 out of 16 missiles and nine out of 10 drones that attacked the Dnipropetrovsk region, governor Serhiy Lysak said.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal put the death toll at eight. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said a 14-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy had been killed.

“Dnipropetrovsk region survived hell. But who do the Russians want to break with their missiles? No one can unite around a shared tragedy like the Ukrainians do,” Lysak, the governor, said.

Russia denies targeting civilians during its airstrikes and says the energy system is a legitimate target, but hundreds of civilians have been killed during air strikes.

State-run railways company Ukrzaliznytsia said Russia targeted its infrastructure in the attack and that one of its workers was killed.

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