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Russian military cargo plane crashes in field after engine failure causing 4 deaths

Russia: Wreckage burns following plane crash in Ryazan

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An Ilyushin Il-76 military cargo plane reportedly landing near the Russian city of Ryazan in the west has crashed. At least four of the nine people on board have died, with five others hospitalised. Footage of the crash site showed the plane’s front, where the pilots were sitting, skewered against a tree, separated from the rest of the plane. What appears to be the engine can be seen in flames, with thick black smoke rising above it. 

The incident was reported by Russian state media agency RIA Novosti this morning, who cited local authorities. 

A separate Russian news outlet, Interfax, quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying the plane had suffered an engine malfunction while on a training flight. 

However, the defence ministry gave no indication of the crew members who died during the crash. 

It has been speculated that the plane malfunctioned swiftly after takeoff, though other reports have suggested the plane had crashed shortly before it was due to land in Ryazan. 

The news will come at an inopportune moment for Russian forces as they struggle to stem the flow of Western weapons flowing into Ukraine. 

While Russia began their invasion of Ukraine with a superior chest of weaponry and significantly more troops, Western supplies from NATO and elsewhere have evened the two sides out. 

It has allowed Ukraine to first repel Russian forces earlier in the conflict from Kyiv back towards the east. 

Since then, the two nations have been locked in fierce fighting, centred around the city of Severodonetsk. 

A senior US defence official said today that Russia had been trying unsuccessfully to target Western weapons flowing into Ukraine. 

It is believed some of the weapons the Russians have been singling out for destruction include longer-range systems that Kyiv hopes will be decisive on the battlefield.

The official also appeared to play down the significance of Russian advances in Ukraine and said a Ukrainian pullback from Severodonetsk would allow them to take a better defensive position.

The official said: “In moving the Ukrainian armed forces from Severodonetsk back, what they are doing is putting themselves in a position where they can better defend themselves.” 

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Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said Friday Ukrainian troops were set to withdraw from the eastern city of Severodonetsk after weeks of intense bombardments and street fighting.

Mr Gaidai said troops in Severodonetsk had already received the order to move to new positions as Russian advances raised fears they could be cut off and surrounded.

Mr Gadai said: “Remaining in positions smashed to pieces over many months just for the sake of staying there does not make sense.” 

Today also marks four months since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent tens of thousands of troops over the border, unleashing a conflict that has killed thousands of combatants and civilians, uprooted millions people, and seen cities blasted to bits by Russian artillery and air strikes.

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