Russian Fighter Jet Crashes Into Black Sea Near Crimea Amid Ukraine War

KYIV, Ukraine — Intensifying its aerial assault, Russia launched cruise missile and drone attacks across Ukraine overnight, damaging thermal and hydroelectric power plants as well as electricity grid infrastructure, Ukrainian authorities said on Friday.

The attacks prompted emergency shutdowns in the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, where critical infrastructure facilities were struck, according to the regional governor Serhii Lysak. At least one person was injured and hospitalized due to the bombardment in the area.

Explosions also rocked the western Ivano-Frankivsk and Khmelnytskyi regions, as well as the city of Dnipro after Russian cruise missiles were detected, Ukraine’s national public broadcaster Suspilne reported. The Ukrainian air force had earlier warned of a widespread missile threat.

In response to the strikes, Poland scrambled fighter jets as Russian long-range aviation conducted the attacks within its airspace related to targeting Ukraine. The Polish defense forces said all necessary safety measures were taken to secure Polish airspace and that the situation was being monitored continuously.

The overnight bombardment came just a day after a Russian SU-35 fighter jet crashed into the Black Sea off the Crimean peninsula. Footage circulating online showed the aircraft spiraling uncontrolled with its engines on fire before slamming into the waters near Sevastopol and exploding.

While the Russian-installed governor of occupied Crimea, Mikhail Razvozhayev, stated the pilot was able to eject safely and was rescued, he did not provide details on the cause of the crash. Ukrainian military experts claimed the jet may have been shot down, while some pro-Ukraine channels speculated it could have been a case of friendly fire, though these reports remain unverified.

Crimea has faced repeated Ukrainian strikes during the conflict as Kyiv tries to weaken Russia’s grip on the peninsula it annexed in 2014.

Amid the hostilities, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the U.S. Congress to swiftly pass a new $60 billion military and financial aid package for Ukraine in a phone call with the Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, who has held up the bill for months.

“We recognize that there are differing views in the House of Representatives on how to proceed, but the key is to keep the issue of aid to Ukraine as a unifying factor,” Zelenskyy stated, adding that he briefed Johnson on the battlefield situation and “the dramatic increase in Russia’s air terror.”

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In a separate interview with CBS News, the Ukrainian leader warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin would rapidly escalate the war into NATO territory unless halted in Ukraine. Zelenskyy acknowledged that his troops currently lack the readiness to defend against another major Russian offensive and stressed the urgency of receiving U.S. Patriot missile defense systems and more artillery.

The U.S. government, meanwhile, has taken steps to prevent Russia from acquiring American-made weapon components. The Commerce Department revealed it has contacted over 20 U.S. firms instructing them to halt shipments of missile and drone parts to more than 600 foreign entities potentially diverting the goods to Russia.

“In the last several weeks, we’ve sent letters to more than 20 American companies, each containing a list of more than 600 foreign parties,” said Matthew Axelrod, an assistant secretary at the department. Senior officials have also directly reached out to company executives regarding additional preventative measures.

The crackdown comes as U.S. munitions recovered in Ukraine have been found to contain American components.

On the domestic front, Russian authorities continued their suppression of anti-war voices. A court sentenced journalist Mikhail Feldman to two years in prison for criticizing Moscow’s military campaign, while police in the capital detained five other reporters over a 24-hour span.

As the conflict drags on, several former Soviet-bloc nations marked the 20th anniversary of NATO’s largest-ever expansion when they joined the Western defensive alliance in 2004 after decades under Moscow’s sphere of influence.

The war has caused friction between Ukraine and Poland over Kiev’s agricultural exports, prompting talks between the two nations’ prime ministers aimed at easing trade tensions. Following the meeting in Warsaw, Polish leader Donald Tusk said “We are close to a solution” regarding permissible Ukrainian shipment volumes.

In a separate investigation, Poland’s Internal Security Agency conducted searches as part of a joint European probe into alleged Russian espionage activities.

Elsewhere, French authorities took down a website promoting fake recruitment efforts aimed at enticing French volunteers to fight in Ukraine, the country’s defense ministry disclosed.

As the war grinds through its second year, Ukraine continues battling Russian aggression amid escalating bombardments while striving to shore up vital international military support to bolster its outmatched defenses.

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