A military expert has suggested that Russia’s bombing of the city of Belgorod could have been a “deliberate act” by soldiers rebelling against the war in Ukraine.
Discussing the possible cause for what looked to be an accidental strike on the city earlier this week, Retired Colonel Cedric Leighton pointed to where the strike hit as a potential indicator of a deliberate attack.
Speaking to CNN, he said: “I thought ‘how could you make a mistake like that?’.
“It was really interesting to me because what they are doing is using Russian territory as a standoff launch area to get into Ukraine and target Ukrainian targets.
READ MORE: Putin fires Pacific fleet admiral after military drills flopped
“But this thing went horribly wrong if it wasn’t a deliberate act. It occurred to me that it could be a deliberate act because the bomb impacted on a major intersection in the middle of Belgorod.
“This is a key indicator that something is going terribly wrong with the way the Russians are preparing themselves.”
Asked why Russian troops would deliberately strike their own territory, he added: “It would be to sabotage the war effort, to indicate there is something wrong with the orders they are receiving and that they want to protest this if it is an act like that.”
Former CIA Chief of Russia Operations Steve Hall noted an intentional attack on the Russian city would indicate a “rebellion” in the Russian military is brewing.
However, he suggested that the strike could have happened simply because of an “incompetent pilot”.
He said: “If Cedric is right about that, that would be fascinating because it would essentially mean you have some sort of rebellion going on inside the Russian military.
“There are other possibilities. We have seen reports that the Russians are trying to get microchips from wherever they can, anything that has a chip in it to make a smart bomb. They could have tried to do that and it simply failed.
“It could also be incompetence because we have seen some real difficulty in the recruiting and training across the Russian military.
On Saturday, an undetonated bomb was found in the city. More than 3,000 locals were forced to evacuate explosives specialists assessed the device. They said there is no danger of an explosion.
Local officials say the bomb has now been removed and people are now returning to their homes.
Belgorod, located about 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the Russia-Ukraine border, has faced regular drone attacks since Russia sent troops into Ukraine last year.
Russian authorities have blamed those strikes on the Ukrainian military, which refrained from directly claiming responsibility for the attacks.
Late Saturday, the governor of the Kharkiv region, Oleh Syniehubov, said five missiles fired from the Belgorod area hit the region, including one that struck unspecified “civilian infrastructure” in the capital city Kharkiv.
Follow our social media accounts here on facebook.com/ExpressUSNews and @expressusnews