Russian Warplane Crashes Into Mountain, Killing All Aboard

Russian official media said that a Su-34 fighter jet went down east of the Black Sea, killing everybody on board.

The Russian military confirmed to Kremlin-affiliated media outlets on Tuesday that a plane was shot down while practicing a routine flight over North Ossetia-Alania, a tiny province on the border with Georgia.

RIA Novosti, a Russian news agency, reports that both crew members perished in the crash. The plane went down in a “deserted area” after a “technical malfunction,” according to national news outlets.

Throughout the almost two years of conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s Su-34 all-weather supersonic fighter-bomber aircraft have seen substantial service. However, there have been several non-combat losses on Moscow’s non-frontline aircraft, with many of these losses being linked to technical issues.

Training time constraints, a shortage of seasoned pilots, the demands of fighting in Ukraine, and a general lowering of safety standards are likely to blame for the high number of recorded incidents involving Russian aircraft, according to Russian observers.

The Voronezh area of Russia, which borders the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, was the site of a training flight when a Su-34 crashed in mid-September 2023. According to Moscow, the two crew members on board the jet were able to escape before the crash, which Moscow also attributed to a “technical malfunction.”

The village of Yeysk in Russia’s southern Krasnodar area was the site of a fatal Su-34 accident in October 2022, according to Russian officials, which killed fifteen people.

According to Russian state media, which cited Russian security agencies, two seagulls were pulled into the plane’s engines before takeoff. The plane caught fire just before it hit an apartment building, sending heavy smoke clouds soaring into the sky.

Accidents involving many additional types of Russian aircraft have occurred since February 2022. The two crew members tragically lost their lives in August 2023 when a Russian Su-30 fighter jet went down in an unpopulated region of the Kaliningrad exclave during training, according to a Russian military official who spoke to the Tass news agency. 

Authorities attributed the disaster to, once again, a “technical malfunction.”