Ukrainian officials accused Russia of ‘barbaric’ carpet bombing of Mariupol, the besieged port city in eastern Ukraine.
“For the first time since the beginning of the armed aggression, long-range Tu-22M3 bombers carried out bombing strikes – this airstrike was carried out on the city of Mariupol,” said the speaker of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Oleksandr Motuzyanyk.
Russian Defense Ministry also shared footage showing a moment of carpet-bombing of the Mariupol steel plant.
Russian Air Force reportedly used its Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bombers to drop unguided bombs on Ukrainian troops in the besieged city of Mariupol.
For the first time in the Ukrainian war, Russia begins using a Tu-22 bomber to bombard the Ukrainian army’s positions in Mariupol pic.twitter.com/NrsG1qHkwa
— Aladdin Al Diab (@aladdinaldiab) April 16, 2022
A video emerged on social media earlier, which was reportedly taken recently in eastern Ukraine, that clearly shows the Backfire bomber.
Tu-22 seen over Mariupol, today… pic.twitter.com/72ifFbXZHO
— BashKarma (@Karmabash) April 17, 2022
This represents a major escalation in the War between the two countries, which erupted in February and is primarily over the disputed Donbas region.
Russian forces seek to capture Mariupol, create a land bridge to Crimea, expand the area of occupation in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk – and perhaps encircle Ukraine’s main fighting force ranged against it.