Russia appears to have shot down one of its own $40million fighter jets in the skies over eastern Ukraine, in just the latest humiliation for Putin’s military.
Footage of a flaming wreck falling from the skies over Alchevsk, in Luhansk, first emerged overnight Sunday when pro-Moscow Telegram accounts posted it – saying ‘allied forces’ had shot the aircraft down.
But more video of the wreck on the ground emerged the following day and revealed the words ‘Russian Aerospace Forces’ written down the side of the aircraft.
It now appears that Putin’s men shot down one of their own jets – identified online as a rare $40million variant of the Su-34 fighter-bomber.
Wreckage found of Russian jet reportedly shot down in friendly fire
Writing on the side of the plane appeared to read ‘¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿’ which is an acronym for Russian Aerospace Forces, while a partial serial number revealed the jet as an Su-34M
The shoot-down came shortly after Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered his anti-air defences to prioritise taking out American-made HIMARS rockets.
HIMARS have been playing havoc with Russia’s invasion by taking out headquarters and ammo dumps deep behind the frontlines, with Putin’s anti-air seemingly struggling to stop them.
Michael Weiss, a respected security correspondent, tied the two events together – tweeting that: ‘They just downed their own Su-34, aiming at HIMARS.’
The incident was first brought to light by Yevgeny Poddubny, who runs a pro-Russian Telegram channel that typically posts videos of Putin’s forces striking Ukraine.
Late Sunday, he published footage of a flaming ball falling from the skies over the city of Alchevsk, in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine.
Alongside the video, he wrote: ‘Last night, the air defense crew of the allied forces destroyed a target in the sky over Alchevsk (LPR).
‘The nature of the target is not clear. The burning ball fell to the ground for more than a minute.’
The following morning, footage of the wreck emerged showing what appeared to be the burning remains of an Su-34 fighter-bomber.
The incident first came to light overnight Sunday when pro-Kremlin channels published footage of a flaming wreck falling from the sky near Alchevsk – saying their force shot it down
The night sky lights up orange as the wreck of the jet crashes to the ground near Alchevsk, in just the latest humiliation for Putin’s military
Visible on the side of the aircraft was what appeared to be the words ‘ВКС Россия’ – an acronym which stands for ‘Russian Aerospace Forces’.
A partial serial number was also visible, ending in ’90’. According the Dutch Aviation Society, there is only one Su-34 jet whose serial number ends in ’90’ and it is a highly-advanced Su-34M variant.
The fighter-bombers – only 10 of which existed before the shoot-down – are almost exclusively flown by the 277th Bomber Aviation Regiment.
Russian state media has previously confirmed the 277th is deployed near Ukraine.