On July 17, a Russian Su-34 fighter plane crashed near the Ukrainian town of Alchevsk. Judging by the video of the wreckage, it is a rare make, Su-34M (M for “modernized”, meaning updated electronics, high-precision weapons, and a set of pods with surveillance equipment) with a flight number RF-95890. The aircraft belonged to the 277th Bomber Aviation Regiment of the 303rd Mixed Division of the 11th Krasnoznamennaya Army of the Russian Air Force and Anti-Missile Defense of the Eastern Military District.
Pro-Kremlin Telegram channels have spread the version that the fighter was mistakenly taken down by friendly fire when the air defense unit was targeting missiles launched by Ukrainians with US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers. The crew is reported to have catapulted and to have been successfully evacuated. Ukrainian sources have partially confirmed this account. Oryx, one of the most credible OSINT sources gathering data on military equipment losses in the war in Ukraine, has also reported the loss of the Russian aircraft.
Most likely, it was the Su-34M crash that VGTRK's military correspondent Evgeny Poddubny unknowingly reported on his Telegram channel:
Last night, an air defense fire unit of the allied forces struck a target in the sky above Alchevsk. The nature of the target is unclear. The burning ball took more than a minute to land.
Late in June, the Russian air defense system “intercepted itself” near Alchevsk. A few seconds after the launch, the missile turned around and flew in the opposite direction.