A shocking video has surfaced showing Russian forces shooting down one of their own fighter-bombers in a friendly fire incident in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine. The video was reportedly uploaded by Russian war correspondent Yevgeny Poddubny.
The footage, which emerged on Monday, shows a Su-34 Fullback fighter, also known as a ‘Hellduck’, turning into a ball of fire after being shot down by air defense system belonging to Russian forces or pro-Russian separatists.
Other videos showed the wreckage of the Su-34 twin-engine fighter/bomber still billowing with smoke. According to a report by The Drive, a portion of the plane’s tail number shows that the plane in question is RF-95890, an advanced and rare variant of the Su-34M.
The advanced variant reportedly features upgraded avionics, radar and communications systems, as well as its weapons and electronic warfare systems. The plane was reportedly carrying a large amount of fuel, causing it to become a large ball of fire.
The SU-34 is reportedly the 35th fixed-wing military aircraft Russia has lost in Ukraine since the war broke out, according to researchers at the Oryx blog. However, there are reports that the total number may be much higher than that. Of these, 11 are said to be Su-34s, one of Russia’s most advanced attack aircraft. Most of those planes were shot down by Ukrainian air defense systems and air-to-air missiles.
Ukraine, meanwhile, reported another friendly fire incident in the Donetsk region last week after the Russian military fired on the pro-Russian DPR popular militia in an “apparent failure of coordination”.
According to Ukraine, the incident came to light after the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) intercepted calls from pro-Russian soldiers, Ukrinform reports. Although the Russians tried to cover up the incident, it was leaked by mobilized soldiers in the LPR/DPR.
In the intercepted call, a DPR soldier is heard telling his interlocutor that the battalion attacked by the Russians was stationed “somewhere near Berdyansk”. He added that those soldiers did not receive adequate food supplies or assignments. Although the unit was deployed to the front line, they had to withdraw after a long idle wait. While returning to their starting positions, they encountered a Russian unit, which engaged the battalion, mistaking it for Ukrainian forces and effectively destroying it, the report added.