Russia keeps accidentally dropping bombs on its own people as it struggles to hit intended targets, UK intel says

There have been numerous reports over the last year of incidents of Russian aircraft accidentally dropping bombs and missiles on Russian civilian areas around border regions with Ukraine.

Belgorod, a region of Russia close to the besieged northeastern Ukrainian territory of Kharkiv, has borne the brunt of the apparent errors.

Earlier this month, reports circulated that a Russian 1,100-lb FAB-500 bomb fell on a civilian area of Belgorod on May 4. Thirty houses were damaged, and five people were injured.

In April, the Russian independent Telegram channel Astra reported that a Russian Kh-59 missile was dropped on Belgorod city center after it “abnormally” fell around 57 miles from the border with Ukraine. The post said there were “no casualties.”

A similar incident is also thought to have occurred in January, when two FAB-250 bombs struck the Belgorod region after being inadvertently released from Russian aircraft, Astra reported, prompting authorities to evacuate roughly 150 residents, per the report.

Image of a  FAB-500 bomb taken from a Russian Su-34 bomber.

Russian FAB-500 bomb.

Russian Defense Ministry/Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images

Such incidents appear to be becoming increasingly common, with Astra reporting that “at least 21 aerial bombs” had accidentally been dropped by Russian forces on Russian or Russian-occupied territory between March and April 2024.

In an update on the conflict on Saturday, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the instances highlighted “Russia’s continued inability to successfully employ their munitions on intended targets.”

“Such errors have destructive and lethal consequences for the Russian population,” the department continued.

The MoD has previously said that such mistakes were likely due to a combination of “poor procedures when arming the aircraft prior to sorties” and “poor execution by aircrew during missions.”

It noted that increasing reports of such incidents likely pointed to fatigued troops and poor training.

It comes as Russia launched an offensive on Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Friday as it seeks to make the most of its personnel and materiel advantages over Ukraine before further US aid arrives.

The Institute for the Study of War think tank said in an update on the conflict that the offensive operation around Kharkiv had “limited operational objectives” but aimed “to achieve the strategic effect of drawing Ukrainian manpower and materiel from other critical sectors of the front in eastern Ukraine.”

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