Russia said it prevented a Ukrainian attempt to hijack a missile-carrying strategic bomber

  • Russia’s FSB said it thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to hijack a missile-carrying strategic bomber.

  • It said Ukraine promised the pilot money and Italian citizenship to take off and land in Ukraine.

  • It also claimed NATO special services were involved in the failed operation.

Russia’s Federal Security Service said it thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to hijack a missile-carrying strategic bomber.

“The FSB has stopped another Ukrainian special services attempt to carry out an operation to hijack the Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber,” it said in a statement on Monday, per a translation by The Moscow Times.

According to the FSB, Ukrainian intelligence promised an unnamed Russian military pilot money and Italian citizenship in exchange for him taking off and landing the plane in Ukraine.

Instead, according to the report, the pilot told his commanders everything.

Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti published a video of the purported pilot as well as an alleged chat between him and someone from Ukrainian special services, which claimed to show the pilot and his family being threatened.

The FSB also claimed that NATO special forces took part in the attempted hijacking operation, without giving evidence, and that through the pilot it was able to obtain intelligence that allowed Russia to strike an airbase in northwestern Ukraine.

The statement didn’t specify when the alleged attack took place.

Russia’s FSB and Ukraine’s Security Service didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tu-22M3 supersonic bombers have been used to devastating effect during the war, notably to strike targets in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in April 2022.

As a result, Ukraine has repeatedly targeted the planes, sometimes in airfields deep inside Russia.

Last August, photos appeared to show the remains of a Russian Toplev Tu-22M3 bomber at a base located about 400 miles from Russia’s border with Ukraine.

The UK Ministry of Defence said at the time that the attack was likely carried out from inside Russia, as drones launched from Ukraine could not reach that far.

In a separate attack in April, the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine said it shot down one of Russia’s Tu-22M3 bombers.

If confirmed, this would have been the first one shot down since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

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