A Russian military plane caught fire and crashed while en route to support Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Ilyushin-76 cargo plane was spotted on fire over the Russian city of Ryazan (200 km southeast of Moscow) immediately after refueling.
He was forced into an emergency landing behind a busy residential tower, exploding as he landed.
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A large plume of black smoke was visible after impact.
Nine crew members were on board, at least four of whom were killed and the rest in “serious” condition after being rushed to hospital.
Three of those killed – Vladimir Petrushin, Nikolai Gorbunov and Dmitry Andreev – died at the crash site, while a fourth died in hospital.
It is understood there were no civilian casualties on the ground, despite the plane crashing close to businesses and residential areas.
In a terrifying clip of the accident, a voice can be heard saying: “Everything is in flames, look.”
Another said: “It’s flying towards us… so scary, it’s flying towards us… it’s going to hit houses, look.”
As the plane crashes to the ground, someone exclaims, “That’s it!”
The Ilyushin-76 reportedly suffered a major engine failure after its refueling stop at Ryazan.
His journey started further east in the city of Orenburg and he was heading towards Belgorod, the capital of the Russian region of the same name and right on the border with Ukraine.
Ryazan is an important staging point for the Russian army en route to Ukraine, as well as a key base for Russian paratroopers who were decimated during the conflict.
It comes after another major plane crash in Russia this week, where the pilot managed to save the lives of everyone on board.
All seven people aboard the Antonov-30 lived after the plane left radar and was reported missing before crashing in the heart of Siberia.
Captain Yevgeny Kudashov, 67, was piloting the flight from Yakutsk to Olenyok and won praise from his co-pilot, Vladimir Vinogradov, for his quick thinking.
Vinogradov, who suffered a spinal injury from the crash landing, said: “The engines stopped. The commander made the right decision.
“He’s very experienced, he landed it skillfully. We all helped him, the whole crew. As you can see, there were no injuries.”
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