Russian Tu-22M3 Bomber Crashes in Stavropol Krai, Two Pilots Rescued

Russian strategic bomber crashes in Russia after Ukraine strike, killing one crew member, as Ukraine claims it shot down the aircraft.

Geeta Pillai
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Russian Tu-22M3 Bomber Crashes in Stavropol Krai, Two Pilots Rescued

Russian Tu-22M3 Bomber Crashes in Stavropol Krai, Two Pilots Rescued

A Russian Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber crashed in the Stavropol Krai region of Russia on April 19, 2024, shortly after conducting a missile strike on Ukraine. The incident occurred as the aircraft was returning to its base at the Mozdok military airfield in North Ossetia, near the border with Stavropol Krai.

According to the governor of Stavropol Krai, Vladimir Vladimirov, two pilots from the crashed plane were found alive and taken to medical facilities, where they are receiving necessary assistance. However, one crew member was killed in the crash, and efforts are currently underway to locate a fourth missing pilot who ejected from the aircraft.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that the plane involved in the crash was a Tu-22M3 strategic bomber-missile carrier, stating that the preliminary cause of the incident was a technical malfunction. The ministry also noted that there was no ammunition on board the aircraft at the time of the crash.

Why this matters: This incident marks the first reported downing of a Russian strategic aviation aircraft since the start of the war in Ukraine. The Tu-22M3 is a key component of Russia's long-range strike capabilities, and its loss could impact ongoing military operations in the region.

Ukrainian officials have claimed that their air defense units successfully intercepted and shot down the Tu-22M3 bomber. The commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, Mykola Oleshchuk, stated that Ukraine had "destroyed" the warplane, which is often used by Russia to conduct airstrikes in Ukraine using outdated anti-ship missiles that frequently result in civilian casualties. However, previous Ukrainian claims of shooting down Russian warplanes have been met with denials from Moscow, and this latest incident could not be independently verified.

Governor Vladimirov reported that three crew members were rescued after ejecting from the aircraft, but one of the rescued pilots later died from their injuries. The search for the fourth missing pilot is ongoing, with emergency services and military personnel scouring the area around the crash site. The Russian Defense Ministry has launched an investigation into the incident to determine the exact cause of the crash and assess the extent of the damage to the aircraft.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian Tu-22M3 bomber crashed in Stavropol Krai, Russia on April 19, 2024.
  • 2 pilots found alive, 1 crew member killed, 1 pilot missing after ejecting.
  • Crash occurred after bomber conducted missile strike on Ukraine and was returning to base.
  • Russia claims technical malfunction, Ukraine claims it shot down the bomber.
  • Incident marks first reported downing of Russian strategic aviation aircraft in Ukraine war.