Ukrainian Fighter Jet, For 1st Time, Hits Command Node Inside Mainland Russia After ‘OK’ From NATO: Media

With several NATO countries authorizing Ukraine to attack Russian territory using the weapons provided by them, a Ukrainian warplane has allegedly — for the first time — struck deep in Russian territory. 

On June 9, a Ukrainian military source told Sky News that a Ukrainian warplane had fired a weapon that struck a target inside Russia for the first time. The source said there was an attack on a “Russian command node” in the western Russian region of Belgorod.

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. While 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.”

Although Belgorod is situated near the Ukrainian border in the northeast, EurAsian Times could not independently verify the report. Neither side has spoken on this alleged attack since the filing of this report.

Interestingly, the alleged attack comes at a time when reports have surfaced that a “coordinated strike” was carried out by Ukrainian forces against a Russian landing ship that had recently relocated from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. In addition, there are claims in Ukrainian media that the embattled country has managed to destroy a Su-57 Felon stealth jet in a massive combat victory against the Russians.

The Sky News report stopped short of specifying what ammunition was used to launch an attack on the Belgorod command node center and whether it was of Western origin.

The claims come after a host of NATO countries, including France and the US, stated that the Ukrainian Armed Forces could use the weapons provided to them to hit Russian territory to stall the Russian advance. The US has added the caveat that it should be for the limited purpose of defending Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

While it is unclear which missile was used to attack Belgorod, Ukraine has extensively used the long-range Storm Shadow provided by the UK and its French version, the SCALP-EG.

France has, on its part, allowed Ukraine to strike Russian territory using its weapons to weaken the Russian advance. In an interview with the TV channels TF1 and France 2, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that while Paris prohibited the employment of weapons for strikes against “civilians or various facilities in Russia”, it does not preclude their deployment “to neutralize the point from which Ukraine was attacked”. He emphasized that “limitations in this issue depend on Russia’s actions.”

The UK foreign secretary, David Cameron, has been less explicit. He said that Ukraine should determine how to use British armaments, such as Storm Shadow cruise missiles that can be launched from Ukrainian aircraft.

File Image for representation: Ukrainian Su-24 “Fencer”

However, it is not certain whether the French-British long-range missile was used to conduct this strike or which Ukraine aircraft conducted the alleged strike.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, several Ukrainian drones and a Neptune missile were shot down by Russian forces in the Belgorod region. It has not acknowledged an air-launched missile attack from Ukrainian warplanes as part of the same assault.

It is nonetheless significant that while Ukraine has attacked Russian territory several times, it has been using drones modified by its forces. However, an attack using a warplane could be viewed as a major escalation by Russia, especially in the wake of warnings issued directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine’s Adventurism Amid Putin’s Stern Warning

The reported attack, if verified, would also underscore Ukrainian adventurism and risk to the West in the face of repeated warnings made by Russia.

President Vladimir Putin reiterated a warning he had issued on June 7, saying that Russia would consider arming rivals of Western nations that provide weapons to Ukraine.

He said they might be “states or even other legal entities that face certain pressure, including military (pressure), from those countries that send weapons to Ukraine and urge it to use it against us, against Russian territory”.

“If they supply (weapons) to the combat zone and call for using these weapons against our territory, why don’t we have the right to do the same?” Putin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. “But I’m not ready to say that we will be doing it tomorrow, either.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin

In reaction to NATO partners permitting Ukraine to use their weapons to attack Russian territory, Putin threatened to arm others with long-range weapons so they could attack Western targets. Additionally, Moscow has also declared again that it is prepared to deploy nuclear weapons in response to any challenge to its sovereignty.

Russian state media host Olga Skabeyeva said that Moscow could “start supplying the same high-precision, long-range missiles, except they’ll be of better quality, since they’re Russian, to those nations that are ready to strike our enemies”. Her comments were translated by journalist Julia Davis’s Russian Media Monitor project.

Let the United States and its allies experience firsthand the consequences of foreign parties using Russian weapons, stated Dmitry Medvedev, the former president of Russia and current deputy chairman of the country’s security council. He also pointed out, “This could be anyone who considers ‘Yankeeland’ as their enemy, regardless of their political beliefs or international recognition,” according to remarks obtained by the Russian state news agency TASS.