Four Russian aircraft were shot down within Russian territory, according to unconfirmed reports, in what would mark a significant coup for Ukraine.
There are conflicting accounts about how many planes and helicopters may have been brought down inside the Russian region of Bryansk, but one Russian media outlet says that at least two combat aircraft — an Su-34 and an Su-35 — and two Mi-8 helicopters crashed.
Ukraine has not confirmed its air defenses were involved in the reported downing of the Russian aircraft on Saturday, but says the aircraft “ran into some trouble.”
Bryansk is on the border with Ukraine and has seen previous attacks blamed on Kyiv.
Multiple crashes within Russian territory at the same time would be unprecedented. Some analysts believe Ukrainian air defenses may have been pushed forward as the Russian air force uses more “glide munitions” that can fire at targets from distance.
The Ukrainian air force spokesman, Yuriy Ihnat, said Sunday that a Russian “strike air group attacked Ukraine from the north, from Bryansk Oblast. They do this almost every day. They carry out strikes with guided bombs.”
In this instance, he said, “they ran into some trouble. They wanted to bomb our civilians, our peaceful people.” He went on to call it a “black day” for Russian aviation.
Social media videos geolocated by CNN show at least one helicopter crashing near the town of Klintsy in Bryansk, which is 50 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
Aleksandr Bogomaz, the governor of Bryansk, confirmed that a helicopter had crashed, injuring one civilian, but gave no details on the cause.
Another video, showing an aircraft coming down and a column of black smoke, has been geolocated to a village in Bryansk some 25 kilometers from Klintsy.
The official Russian news agency TASS published video of one helicopter exploding in mid-air and confirmed that an Su-34 fighter had crashed, without indicating the cause.
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