Vladimir Putin faced humiliation yesterday after one of the Russian president’s warplanes bombed his own people.
A fighter dropped explosives on Belgorod on Thursday night in an extraordinary blunder by Kremlin forces.
Footage showed the moment a Su-34 slammed a bomb into the city of around 380,000 people, 25 miles from the border with Ukraine,
narrowly missing a block of flats. Three women were injured by the bomb. Two needed hospital treatment for head wounds.
Pictures on social media showed a 70ft-wide crater caused by the blast with debris strewn around a number of properties.
Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said a damaged nine-storey block of flats had been evacuated as a precaution.
“Thank God no one was killed,” he said on social media.
But while the impact could have been far worse, the incident is hugely embarrassing for Putin and has led to serious questions over military leadership in the Kremlin.
The bomb is suspected to have been a Soviet-designed 1,100lb “high precision” munition.
Similar devices have been rushed into service against Ukraine but on this occasion something went wrong.
The Kremlin has ordered an investigation into the incident.