An unarmed Russian TU-95MS bomber crashed in eastern Russia Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. The crash, one that reportedly killed two of the seven crew members, is the latest in a string of recent Russian aircraft losses.
The Russian defense ministry said that the bomber crashed outside the city of Khabarovsk due to a technical malfunction. While the entire crew bailed out, two members apparently died when they hit the ground.
The entire fleet of the TU-95MSs has since been grounded.
On July 6th, a SU-24 also crashed outside of Khabarvosk killing its two-man crew. Aside from the SU-24 crash, the Russians have lost two MiG 29s, an SU-34 and another TU-95 all in the last month. All the crashes have been non-combat related.
The recent spate of accidents is due to an extremely high operational tempo and a lack of qualified pilots, an anonymous Russian official told Defense News.
Russian sorties have been high since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. NATO forces intercepted more than 100 Russian aircraft in 2014, more than three times the number of intercepts in 2013.