Ukraine claims it shot down Russian bomber as Moscow’s missiles kill eight

19 April 2024, 12:04

Building on fire
Russia Ukraine War. Picture: PA

Two children were among the dead in a Dnipro air strike.

Ukraine’s air force has claimed it shot down a Russian strategic bomber, but Moscow officials said the plane crashed in a sparsely populated area due to a malfunction after a combat mission.

Meanwhile, Russian missiles struck cities in the central Dnipro region of Ukraine, killing eight people, including a 14-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy, and injuring 28, local officials said.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky repeated Kyiv officials’ almost daily appeals for more Western air defence systems, again drawing a parallel with how Israel blunted a recent Iranian attack.

Missile and drone attacks can be thwarted, he wrote on social platform X: “This has been demonstrated in the skies over the Middle East, and it should also work in Europe.”

Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba added: “Children must not be killed in air strikes in modern Europe.”

Russia’s air force is vastly more powerful than Ukraine’s, but sophisticated missile systems provided by Kyiv’s Western partners are a major threat to Russian aviation as the Kremlin’s forces slowly push forward along the 620-mile front line in what has become a grinding war of attrition.

Ukrainian officials say they expect a major Russian offensive in the summer.

Air strike damage
A number of people died in the latest air strike (Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP Photo)

Ukraine said the air force and military intelligence cooperated to bring down the Tu-22M3 bomber with anti-aircraft missiles.

Russia commonly uses the bomber to fire Kh-22 cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets from inside its own airspace. The plane can also carry nuclear warheads.

The Russian defence ministry said the warplane crashed “in a deserted area” in the southern region of Stavropol, hundreds of miles from the Ukrainian border.

Three crew members were rescued after ejecting from the aircraft, and the search for a fourth is taking place, according to the ministry. But Stavropol governor Vladimir Vladimirov said one of the rescued pilots died.

Russian air strike
Residents leave an apartment building hit by an air strike in Dnipro (Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP Photo)

Meanwhile, Russian forces overnight conducted a combined aerial attack with the use of 22 missiles of various types and 14 Shahed drones during the night, the Ukrainian air force said.

All the drones and 15 of the missiles were intercepted, it added.

The attack hit urban areas as well as train infrastructure in the Dnipro region, Ukraine’s National Railway Operator said.

Among those killed in the strikes was employee Oksana Storozhenko, the mother of two teenage sons, it said.

By Press Association

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