Ukraine Says Downed Russian Long-Range Strategic Bomber

Ukraine said Friday that, for the first time since Russia’s invasion, it had downed a Russian long-range bomber used to fire cruise missiles at cities across the war-battered country.

“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 officials said the plane had crashed over the southern Stavropol region when it was flying back to base and at least one member of the crew had died.

“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,” the state-run TASS news agency quoted Russia’s defense ministry as saying.

One of the four crew members died in the incident, Stavropol governor Vladimir Vladimirov said in a post on Telegram.

Two others were taken to a local medical centre.

“The search for the fourth pilot is continuing,” he added.

Stavropol is a region in Russia’s north Caucasus, to the east of the annexed Crimean peninsula which has seen multiple attacks throughout the two-year war.

The plane crashed in the region’s Krasnogvardeysky district, the governor said — around 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the eastern edge of Crimea.

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