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Ukrainian warplane fires weapon at target inside Russia for first time | World News

A Ukrainian air force plane. File pic: AP

A Ukrainian warplane has for the first time fired a weapon that struck a target inside Russia, a Ukrainian military source has told Sky News.

The source said a “Russian command node” was hit on Sunday in the area of Belgorod, western Russia.

Belgorod is close to the border with northeastern Ukraine.

It was not immediately clear what type of munition was used in the attack, including whether or not it had been a Western weapon.

The United States and France recently said the Ukrainian armed forces were permitted to use their arms to strike military targets inside Russia – from where Russian forces are launching attacks against Ukraine.

Lord Cameron, the UK foreign secretary, has been less specific, merely saying it was up to Ukraine to decide how they use British weapons – such as Storm Shadow cruise missiles that can be fired by Ukrainian jets.

The strike happened under new guidance approved by President Joe Biden, allowing American munitions to be used to hit targets inside Russia to help defend the city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine.

Damaged property in Vovchansk, Kharkiv region. Pic: Lyut/Reuters
Damaged property in Vovchansk, Kharkiv region. Pic: Lyut/Reuters

‘Direct hit’

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the military source told Sky News: “A Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) mission has struck a Russian command node in Belgorod.

“Whilst damage assessment is still occurring, it is confirmed as a direct hit. This is the first UAF air-delivered munition delivered against a target within Russia.”

Ukraine has launched multiple drone strikes deep into Russian territory. But the use of a warplane to strike targets inside Russia could be seen by Moscow as a new escalation.

The Russian defence ministry said its forces had shot down a number of Ukrainian drones in the Belgorod region. It was not clear whether this was part of the same assault.

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Ukraine also targeting Russian ships

The Ukrainian military source also said that on Saturday evening, Ukrainian forces conducted a “coordinated strike” against a Russian landing ship that had recently moved to the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea.

The vessel has become the fifth of seven Ropucha-class landing ships to be sunk or “rendered unserviceable” by Ukrainian attacks, the source said.

“This successful strike shows the Russians they cannot operate with freedom either in the Black Sea or eastward,” the source added.

The Russian military uses such ships to ferry ammunition and supplies to the occupied city of Mariupol for onward transit to the frontline, according to the source.

“By thwarting Russian shipments of ammunition and key military supplies this strike will directly support Ukrainian troops in their ongoing fight,” the source said.

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Stealth jet targeted in separate strike 400 miles from frontline

Separately, Kyiv’s main military intelligence service said its forces had hit an ultra-modern Russian warplane stationed on an air base nearly 400 miles from the frontline, the Associated Press (AP) news agency reported.

It was not immediately clear what weapons were used, but the airfield’s distance from Ukraine suggests it was likely hit by drones, AP added.

If confirmed, it would mark Ukraine’s first known successful strike on a Su-57 fighter plane, AP added.

That is a twin-engine stealth fighter described as Moscow’s most advanced military aircraft.

The details of the latest Ukrainian strikes come after AP, quoting a US senator and a Western official, reported on Wednesday that Ukraine had used US weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days.

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