by Kaden Scharnow
The city of Belgorod, Russia was hit by a power explosion late last Thursday, April 20th. Locals reported hearing a low hissing sound, before an intense, deafening explosion that shook apartment buildings, shattered windows, and threw cars, with one ending up on a store roof. Initially, Russian authorities blamed the Ukrainian military for the attack, due to the ongoing conflict between the two neighboring countries, although Ukraine refrained from directly claiming credibility for the attack. About an hour later, while Russian commentators and military bloggers were speculating what bomb was used for the attack, the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged that that the bomb was accidentally released from one of their own Su-34 bombers.
Belgorod, a city of 340,000 located not far from the Russian-Ukrainian border, was used to drone attacks from Ukrainian forces, but never something this big. Two people were injured in the blast, with a third person hospitalized with hypertension. The bomb was a special weapon, set to explode with a delay upon impact, to be used for taking out underground facilities. Not much else was released about the weapon, but military experts say the bomb was a high powered, 500 kilo-gram (1,500 pounds) weapon. Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov released a statement saying local authorities would resettle residents of the 9 story apartment building near the blast radius for inspection of damages, and to make sure the blast didn’t render the building uninhabitable.
Russian commentators question why the plane flew over Belgorod in the first place, and urge Russia to refrain from such risky flight paths in the future. Some speculate that the bomb itself was a part of a modified munition equipped with wings and a GPS-guided targeting system that allowed them to glide dozens of miles away. The Russian air force had only started using these modified bombs recently, which makes them prone to glitches.
Nothing else has been released about the accident by the Russian government. Russian citizens can only hope no dangerous accidents like this occur again.