Ukraine says it shot down Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber

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Ukraine said it shot down a Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber for the first time on Friday, destroying a warplane capable of carrying long-range missiles used to attack Ukrainian cities.

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

It said the crash appeared to have been caused by a technical malfunction.

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Following the Russian statement, Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said Kyiv had “destroyed” the warplane.

“For the first time, anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force, in cooperation with the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, destroyed a Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber, a carrier of Kh-22 cruise missiles used by Russian terrorists to attack peaceful Ukrainian cities,” Oleshchuk said.

The Ukrainian military intelligence agency said the warplane had been taking part in a long-range attack on Ukraine.

Russia conducted a major missile strike on the central region of Dnipropetrovsk earlier on Friday.

Unconfirmed social media footage showed a warplane with its tail on fire spiraling toward the ground.

The Russian defense ministry said the bomber had no longer been carrying no bombs.

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The Russian regional governor said the pilots had ejected, but that one of them had died. A rescue operation was underway for the fourth, he said.

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