NewsRussian glide bombs pose danger to Belgorod and border areas

Russian glide bombs pose danger to Belgorod and border areas

The Russians are bombing their own cities. Dozens of confirmed cases.
The Russians are bombing their own cities. Dozens of confirmed cases.
Images source: © East News | Evgeniy Maloletka

12:12 PM EDT, July 3, 2024

From April 2023 to April 2024, at least 38 Russian glide bombs fell on the territory of the Belgorod region in Russia, reports "The Washington Post." This information comes from a Russian document that fell into the hands of Ukrainian intelligence.

The document, which fell into the hands of Ukrainian intelligence, was most likely prepared by emergency services in Belgorod, a city just about 19 miles from the border with Ukraine. The independent service Astra verified many of the incidents described in this document.

Of the 38 bombs launched towards Ukraine that did not reach their target, seven were found in the suburbs of Belgorod, and another 11 in the Graivoron city district, bordering Ukraine. Some of them could not be recovered due to the "difficult operational situation," as "The Washington Post" put it.

One of the first bombs that missed its target fell on a busy street in Belgorod. Its explosion created a crater with a diameter of 66 feet. The blast force threw parked cars onto the roofs of nearby buildings.

"It’s just an accident"

The next day, the unexploded shell of another bomb, which dug several feet into the ground, was found.

Local authorities report these incidents merely as "accidents". They often blame them on shelling from Ukrainian forces or do not comment at all on the explosions that shake the area.

According to "The Washington Post," on May 4th, after the period covered by the document, another bomb fell on Belgorod. The explosion injured seven people and damaged more than 30 buildings. According to information obtained by Astra from emergency services, it was a half-ton FAB-500 glide bomb. The governor of the oblast, Vyacheslav Gladkov, only mentioned that "an explosion occurred."

100 bombs missed their target within four months

On May 12th, a bomb explosion destroyed several floors of an apartment building in Belgorod, causing the death of 17 people. The Russian military claims that the blast was caused by a rocket fired from Ukraine. However, the investigative journalism group Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) determined that it was an accidentally dropped FAB-500 bomb.

Astra estimates that over the past four months, Russia has most likely dropped over 100 bombs on its territory and occupied areas of Ukraine.

Defective bombs do not reach their target

The Russian army used glide bombs from the Cold War era, which were later equipped with a cheap guidance system. Thanks to this, Russian Su-34 and Su-35 aircraft can drop these bombs from several tens of miles away, meaning that most Ukrainian air defense systems are powerless against such a threat.

The CIT group assessed that from 4 to 6 percent of the glide bombs in the Russian army's arsenal are defective.

Although glide bombs are not as precise as cruise missiles, they cause significant damage through the sheer force of the explosion. According to "The Washington Post," citing analyses by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, this weapon allows Russia to avoid using free-fall bombs, which expose pilots to a higher risk of being shot down since the aircraft must be above the target.

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