Reason behind Russia bombing its own city pinpointed

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Poor training of Russian pilots is one of the humiliating reasons behind a bizarre manoeuvre which saw a plane accidentally bomb its own territory during the war with Ukraine.

That’s the verdict of Dr Alan Diehl, an ex-US government whistleblower on aviation issues, who told the “most surprising aspect” of the episode was that “Russia admitted it happened”.

Earlier this month it emerged a Sukhoi-34 supersonic warplane from Moscow had unleashed an aerial bomb into Belgorod, a Russian city of nearly 350,000 residents located around 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Ukraine.

The bomb sparked a massive explosion that injured at least three people, causing a huge 20 metre-deep crater within the city. It was so destructive that a car was sent high into the air, landing upon a nearby rooftop.

Soon after, video footage emerged which showed other cars being destroyed, as well as concrete piles on the street and bombed buildings.

After a state emergency was declared, with Belorod region’s governor Vyachelslav Gladkov saying it was a miracle no one was dead as a result of the incident, it emerged that Russia itself was behind the bombing.

Dr Diehl said this was one of the most extraordinary moments of a calamitous passage of Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.

Speaking from his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the acclaimed author explained that there were “several potential explanations” behind why the bombing occurred, including “maintenance problems, cockpit ergonomics, crew coordination, mental fatigue and mission pressure”.

But for Dr Diehl it was actually the amount of training handed to Russian forces before taking to the skies that was behind why the incident took place.

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“From reports describing the lack of flying hours available to Russian airmen, one might also suspect inadequate proficiency,” Dr Dielh told

“Such economic strains on the Russian military could adversely affect their combat effectiveness and safety. This is particularly worrisome because of Moscow’s threats to deploy nuclear weapons to the front lines of the war zone.”

He added: “Similar problems have been associated with recent Russian airline accidents and have been widely documented in the current Ukrainian conflict.”

Russia’s preparedness for war has long been a topic of debate within military communities, with many arguing Vladimir Putin and Moscow underestimated how strong Ukraine could be, while mismanaging other elements of the conflict.

Russian soldiers captured during the war have claimed they were not prepared enough during military exercises for the battle, with some saying they were sent directly to the frontline.

It comes as Ukraine announced it would be rapidly expanding its production of drones in its fight with Russia, with the devices sent to troops to support them as the war intensifies.

The boost in the devices was confirmed after a huge fundraising bid from Army of Drones, which claimed to have raised around $108m (£87m) and counted among its backers the likes of Star Wars actor Mark Hamill.

Along with its move to purchase more drones, the money will also be spent on training new Ukrainian pilots to defend its front line.

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