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Flagship Russian supersonic bomber destroyed in Ukrainian drone strike

 (X (Twitter)/ @Tendar)
(X (Twitter)/ @Tendar)

Dramatic photos of what Ukraine claims to be the destruction of a Russian long-range bomber have been released after it was attacked by kamikaze drones, according to reports.

The Tu-22 has been photographed engulfed in flames at the Soltsy Airfield in the Novgorod region after Ukraine reportedly used a kamikaze drone to destroy the flagship bomber on Saturday.

Tupolev Tu-22 is a supersonic long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau in the 1960s that has been used extensively in attacks on Ukrainian cities, the BBC reports.

The Russian Defence Ministry said the attack resulted in a fire that was promptly extinguished and caused unspecified damage to one plane.

But in pictures published by Ukraine the plane is almost indistinguishable from the firey explosion and black smoke.

“The destroyed Tu-22M3 at the Soltsi airfield after yesterday’s arrival of a kamikaze drone,” read an accompanying caption to a Telegram post on Sunday.

Russia’s Defence Ministry wrote on Telegram on Saturday that at around 10am Kyiv carried out the attack using a “helicopter-type UAV on a military airfield in the Novgorod region”.

“A fire broke out in the aircraft parking lot on the territory of the airfield, which was quickly extinguished by fire brigades. One plane was damaged, there were no victims as a result,” the statement read.

Soltsy-2 is around 400 miles (650km) from the Ukraine border.

Drone air strikes inside Russia have increased in recent months. One smashed into a building in central Moscow on Friday after Russian air defences shot it down, disrupting air traffic at all civilian airports of the Russian capital.

The Defence Ministry also reported an attempted attack by an aircraft-type drone on Saturday in the Belgorod region, which now sees such incidents on an almost daily basis. It caused no casualties or damage, the ministry added.

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Tuesday evening that the military jammed two Ukrainian drones over the Black Sea on Monday night.

The drones crashed into the water at around 11pm local time (8pm GMT), 40 kilometres to the northwest from Crimea, the military said in a statement.