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Ukraine reportedly shoots down Russian Tu-22M strategic bomber

Ukrainian anti-aircraft units have shot down a Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 strategic bomber for the first time, Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk stated on 19 April.

“For the first time, anti-aircraft missile units of the air force in cooperation with the defence intelligence of Ukraine destroyed a Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber,” Ukraine’s military said in a statement on social media.

Russian state-run news agency TASS quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying: “A Russian armed forces Tu-22M3 aircraft crashed in the Stavropol region while returning to the base aerodrome after performing a combat mission. The pilots ejected.”

According to Ukraine’s military intelligence, the Russian aircraft was shot down around 300 kilometres from Ukraine with the “same means that were previously used to shoot the Russian A-50 long-range radar detection and control aircraft.”

The downing of a Russian bomber used to fire cruise missiles at Ukraine would be a highly symbolic win for Kyiv, which has been hit hard by hundreds of overnight Russian aerial strikes since Moscow invaded more than two years ago.

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