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Ukraine claims it shot down a Russian strategic bomber. Moscow says the plane crashed

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Kyiv,  Apr 19 (AP) Ukraine’s air force claimed on Friday it shot down a Russian strategic bomber, but Moscow officials said the plane crashed in a sparsely populated area due to a malfunction after a combat mission.

Neither claim could be independently verified. Previous Ukrainian claims of shooting down Russian warplanes during their more than two-year war have met with silence or denials from Moscow.

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Russia’s air force is vastly more powerful than Ukraine’s, but sophisticated missile systems provided by Kyiv’s Western partners are a major threat to Russian aviation as the Kremlin’s forces slowly push forward along the around 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line in what has become a grinding war of attrition.

The Ukrainian report said the air force and military intelligence cooperated to bring down the Tu-22M3 bomber with anti-aircraft missiles. Russia commonly uses the bomber to fire Kh-22 cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets from inside its own airspace. The plane can also carry nuclear warheads.

The Russian defense ministry said the warplane crashed “in a deserted area” in Russia’s southern region of Stavropol.

Three crewmembers were rescued after ejecting from the aircraft, and the search for a fourth is taking place, according to the ministry. But Stavropol Gov. Vladimir Vladimirov said one of the rescued pilots died.

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On Christmas Eve, Ukraine claimed to have shot down two Russian fighter jets. In January, the Ukrainian air force said it shot down a Russian early warning and control plane and a key command center aircraft that relays information to troops on the ground, in what appeared to be a significant blow for the Kremlin’s forces. The next month, Ukraine said it knocked out another early warning and control plane.

Also in January, Moscow accused Kyiv of shooting down a Russian military transport plane that was carrying Ukrainian POWs who were headed for a prisoner swap.

Meanwhile, Russian missiles struck cities in the central Dnipro region of Ukraine, killing eight people, including an 8-year-old girl, and injuring 25, local officials said.

Russian forces conducted a combined aerial attack with the use of 22 missiles of various types and 14 Shahed drones during the night, the Ukrainian air force said.

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All fourteen Shahed drones and 15 of the missiles were intercepted, it said.(AP)

 

 

 

 

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The Hills Timeshttps://thehillstimes.in/
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