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Russian warplane crashes into residential building; pilots killed

Firefighters work at the site of a military plane crash in the city of Irkutsk, Russia, on Sunday. (Reuters)
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Two people were killed when a Russian military plane crashed into a two-story residential building in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, according to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry. It was the second deadly instance of a military plane hitting a Russian apartment block in less than a week.

The Sukhoi Su-30, a Russian two-seat fighter jet, crashed Sunday about 5:30 p.m. in the Novo-Lenino district of Irkutsk. A video shared by Russian state news outlets appeared to show the plane nosediving toward the ground, creating a fireball and thick clouds of dark smoke. The aircraft’s two pilots were reported to have died in the crash. The regional governor of Irkutsk, Igor Kobzev, said no residents were harmed.

A Russian warplane slammed into a residential building in the Siberian city of Irkutsk on Oct 23, killing two crewmembers, authorities said. (Video: Igor Kobzev via Storyful)

It is the second such incident in a week. On Monday, a Sukhoi Su-34 plane crashed into a nine-story apartment block in the southern Russian town of Yeysk. That crash killed at least 15 people, according to a Reuters report. At the time, authorities said the cause was probably “technical failure.” The pilots in the crash managed to eject and survived.

In both incidents, authorities said the planes were on training flights. underscoring the Russian Air Force losses in the war against Ukraine.

Russian fighter jet crashes into apartments in town near Ukraine

Russian authorities did not provide information as to what could have caused the crash. The country’s Investigative Committee said it had launched a criminal investigation into possible violations of transportation safety rules, and it dispatched forensic investigators to the scene.

The United Aircraft Corporation, Russian state-owned aerospace conglomerate, said Sunday in a statement that the investigation into the crash would involve experts from the aviation industry. On Sunday evening in Irkutsk, authorities declared a municipal state of emergency in the district where the incident took place, Russian media reported.

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The back-to-back crashes are problematic for a Russian military struggling against a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the southern Kherson region and public perception at home. Moscow is facing criticism from military analysts who say it’s not winning quickly enough in Ukraine, and from the Russian population, who fled en masse to avoid the military mobilization ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

Elsewhere in the region last month, a man shot and wounded an official at a military enlistment station in a small town north of Irkutsk. The gunman was apparently distraught that his close friend had been called to fight in Ukraine despite having no prior military service.

Mary Ilyushina contributed to this report.