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Russian fighter jet fatally crashes into Siberian residential building days after similar crash near Ukraine

Two pilots killed in same week as separate Russian warplane killed 15 in Yeysk apartment crash

Andy Gregory
Sunday 23 October 2022 18:13 BST
Firefighters attend aftermath of Russian jet crash in Siberia

A Russian fighter jet has crashed into a residential building in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, in the second such fatal incident this week.

The two pilots were killed after the Sukhoi Su-30 plane hit a multi-storey building in the regional capital which housed two families, officials said.

The five residents were not home at the time of the plane crash, Irkutsk governor Igor Kobzev claimed.

Power was knocked out to 150 homes in the vicinity, as firefighters sought to control the resulting blaze from the crash, which initially affected some 200 square metres, Mr Kobzev said.

Footage shared on social media showed the plane diving almost vertically into the building, creating a huge plume of fire and smoke, and leaving debris burning in the street.

The military plane is said to have been on a test flight, and Russia’s state Investigative Committee said it had launched a criminal investigation into violations of air safety rules.

Those whose homes were destroyed in the crash have been offered temporary accommodation and will be financially compensated, the governor said, adding that region’s Ministry of Social Development is in charge of the matter.

It marks the second time in a week that a Russian Sukjoi jet has fatally crashed into the homes of Russian residents.

The aftermath of the crash in Irkutsk (REUTERS/Stringer)

Fifteen people were killed and 19 injured on Monday after a Sukhoi Su-34 jet – also said to have been on a test flight – hit an apartment block in Yeysk, a city lying 70km south across the Azov Sea from the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, which was decimated by Vladimir Putin’s troops this year at the outset of Moscow’s war.

An initial investigation of that disaster, in which the pilots ejected, found that the warplane had malfunctioned after “one of its the engines caught fire during take-off”, the Kremlin said.

It is possible that the crashes reflect the growing strain that the fighting in Ukraine is placing on the Russian air force.

According to military experts, the number of crashes has increased in conjunction with the number of Russian military flights launched during the war – with 11 warplanes crashing outwith combat situations since Mr Putin launched his invasion in February.

The United Aircraft Corporation, a state-controlled conglomerate of Russian aircraft-making plants, said that the plane in Siberia crashed during a training flight, ahead of its delivery to the air force. The jet was carrying no weapons, it said.

Irkutsk, a major industrial centre with more than 600,000 inhabitants and located some 120 kilometres from Russia’s border with Mongolia, is home to an aircraft factory producing Sukhoi Su-30 jets.

The supersonic twin-engine, two-seat fighters are a key component of the Russian air force and have been at the forefront in Mr Putin’s war on Ukraine. They are also used by China, India and many other nations.

Additional reporting by agencies

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