Updated January 8th, 2024 at 16:30 IST

Russian forces ‘accidentally’ fire at own paratroopers near Ukraine border

The anti-aircraft gun operator mistook the military exercise and shot using air defence system with a range of 30 miles from the Ukrainian border.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Russia-Ukraine war. | Image:AP
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Russia’s forces on Sunday “accidentally” attacked their own paratroopers near the Ukraine border after an ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun operator confused the drills for a Ukrainian invasion and opened fired. During an exercise at the Kuzminsky military training range in Russia's Rostov region, Russia’s air defense resort to firing at the Russian paratroopers, killing two in the friendly fire.

Shooter ‘recently returned from the [war] zone’

The incident was shared by a Russian Telegram channel Kremlin Snuffbox on Sunday. The anti-aircraft gun operator mistook the military exercise and shot using air defence system with a range of 30 miles from the Ukrainian border. According to the Telegram channel, most of the shots were missed. The aircraft operator was on duty for over 14 hours, and had returned from Ukraine, participating in Russia’s president Vladimir Putin’s military offensive in the eastern Donabss region.

"The situation is aggravated by the fact that the shooter recently returned from the [war] zone, where he was awarded for effective work. The dead did not have time to take part in the hostilities," Telegram report stated. In yet another accidental attack in January, a Russian aircraft dropped a missile “by mistake" on a village in Russia's western Voronezh region. Multiple homes were damaged but no casualties were reported. Footages that emerged after the explosion showed a massive crowd gathered at the site of the blasts, and taking stock of the destruction amid a pile of debris.

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In a Telegram post, Russia’s Defense Ministry acknowledged that “at around 9:00 am on January 2, while an air force plane was flying over the village of Petropavlovka in the Voronezh region, there was an emergency release of aviation munitions.” The post further stated, "An investigation is underway into the circumstances of the incident. A commission is working on-site to assess the nature of the damage and assist in the restoration of buildings.” 

Another Telegram post also reported earlier that Russian air defense struck its own most-advanced Su-35 jet, near Krasnoperekopsk. "Now the plane is losing altitude over the Sea of Azov,” the channel reported, later reporting that the “damaged Su-35 landed at a military airfield" in the city of Melitopol in Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region.”

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Published January 8th, 2024 at 16:30 IST