A fighter jet lost ammunition over the Russian city of Belgorod, the Defense Ministry said Thursday, after local authorities reported an explosion that left two injured in this town near Ukraine.

Russian aviation regularly flies over Belgorod since the beginning of the offensive in Ukraine in February 2022.

On Thursday night, local authorities reported a massive explosion in Belgorod that left a huge crater in the city center and injured two women.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, said the detonation caused a shock wave that damaged four apartments and four cars and knocked down power poles.

“An explosion occurred,” Gladkov said in a message on the Telegram app. Investigation teams and representatives of the Emergencies Ministry were working at the site, he added.

The explosion left a “huge” crater about 20 meters in diameter in the center of the city, he said.

Both Gladkov and Mayor Valentin Demidov posted photos of the damage on social media.

One shows stunned neighbors huddled in front of an apartment building, with a woman holding a small dog and a fire truck nearby.

Another photograph shows the interior of apartments shattered by the blast.

– Abnormal fall –

Local authorities did not detail the cause of the incident, but the Defense Ministry quickly issued a statement explaining that a fighter jet lost ammunition while flying over the city.

“During a flight of the air force Su-34 aircraft over the city of Belgorod, an abnormal ammunition drop occurred,” the ministry said.

The statement published by Russian news agencies specified that the incident took place at 22H15 local time (19H15 GMT).

Citing preliminary information, Gladkov said one woman was hospitalized for a head injury and another was treated at the scene.

Demidov noted that residents in buildings affected by the blast will be relocated to hotels.

Traffic in the area was temporarily halted, he added.

Russia’s Belgorod region, bordering Ukraine, is often hit by shots, sometimes deadly, that Moscow blames on Ukraine, but the center of Belgorod has only rarely been hit.

In January, Governor Gladkov told President Vladimir Putin that 25 people were killed and more than 90 wounded in the region since the offensive began.

In October 2022, an Su-34 aircraft crashed into a residential building in the southern town of Yeisk, also on the Ukrainian border, killing 16 people, including seven children.

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