September 1st, 1983, was a tense day for the Soviet regime. A military experiment was about to begin in USSR territory. The army was conducting ground, air, and sea operations to ensure its total secrecy.
Everything seemed on track along the Soviet border when a mysterious foreign aircraft was spotted near Sakhalin Island, north of Japan.
After futile attempts to establish contact with the unknown aircraft, Maj, Gennadiy Osipovich, aboard his SU-15 fighter, was assigned to take it down.
Recent reports of US recon planes scouting the zone put the USSR under alarm. It was not about to allow the secret military project to be compromised.
When Major. Gennadiy Osipovich approached the unidentified aircraft to fire warning shots, no response came from the plane.
Instead, it suddenly began to climb, slowing its speed, as if it wanted to avoid contact and flee.
After a moment of hesitation, fearing that the enemy airplane would escape with valuable intel, Maj. Osipovich was given permission to open fire and take it down no matter the cost.
With an audacious maneuver, he fired two AA-3 air-to-air missiles. One of them exploded behind the target, damaging a crucial control line. The second one hit the aircraft in the fuselage.
Maj. Osipovich radioed Command that the enemy recon plane was destroyed, and he safely returned to base. The sky was clear, and the USSR’s secrets were safe.
But to Major. Osipovich’s disgrace, neither he nor the Russian Command knew that they had just taken down a civilian aircraft carrying more than 250 innocent people inside.
The consequences of this action would put the world on the brink of nuclear war once again.
The Russians would claim it was a set-up and a deliberate political provocation, while the US would condemn it as a cruel act of barbarism.
Intelligence gathered later demonstrated more to the story than a simple unidentified aircraft flying across Russian territory…
The Korean Air Lines Flight 007 Incident would be considered one of the final denouements of Cold War fear before the USSR finally crumbled in 1991…
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