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Russia foils NATO-Ukraine attempt to hijack Tu-22M3 bomber

According to the FSB, a Russian pilot was promised money and “Italian citizenship” in exchange for flying and landing the Tu-22M3 in Ukraine.

MOSCOW: Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced it had thwarted an attempt by Ukraine to hijack a missile-carrying strategic bomber. The FSB claimed that in the process, it obtained intelligence aiding Russia’s military in striking Ukrainian territory.

“The FSB has stopped another Ukrainian special services attempt to carry out an operation to hijack the Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber,” the agency stated.

The FSB alleged that an unidentified “special service of a NATO country” was involved in planning and executing the operation.

According to the FSB, a Russian pilot was promised money and “Italian citizenship” in exchange for flying and landing the Tu-22M3 in Ukraine.

Video published by state news agencies showed the Russian pilot standing in front of the warplane, recounting his interactions with the alleged Ukrainian recruiter.

“A stranger wrote to me on Telegram. Without morals or ethics, he started threatening my close relatives [and] demanded that I burn down aircraft,” the pilot said, his voice disguised and face covered by a helmet.

“I told my commanders everything. My interlocutor didn’t even hide that he was from the Ukrainian special services,” the pilot added. “He suggested I hijack a warplane to Ukrainian territory, but not just any plane, a long-range bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons.”

The FSB stated that its “operative work” with the would-be hijackers allowed the Russian military to gather intelligence that helped it “inflict damage” on the Ozerne airfield in western Ukraine’s Zhytomyr region.

The timing of the Ozerne strike was unclear, with previous reports indicating the airfield was last targeted in March and unconfirmed social media reports suggesting recent explosions in the Zhytomyr region. The FSB did not disclose whether Russia was pursuing charges related to the alleged hijacking attempt.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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