A Russian military fighter jet crashed into an apartment building in a city near Ukraine, resulting in a massive fire.
The incident occurred on Monday in Yeysk, a small port town in the Krasnodar Krai region of western Russia with a population of around 90,000. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the story to the state-run Tass press agency, reporting that the aircraft involved in the crash was a Su-34 fighter jet.
The make of the plane has been confirmed by various reputable sources, including the Dutch defense analysis and news site Oryx, which added the Su-34 to the list it maintains of aircraft destroyed in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As of Monday, Oryx lists 17 Su-34 Russian jet fighters as destroyed in various incidents, with another one unconfirmed and potentially involving a slightly different model.
“While climbing to perform a training flight from the military airfield of the southern military district, a Su-34 aircraft crashed,” the Russian Defense Ministry claimed in its statement. “According to the report of ejected pilots, the cause of the plane crash was the ignition of one of the engines during takeoff.”
Yeysk is notably close to Ukraine, with the port town situated across the Taganrog Gulf in the Eastern Sea of Azov from Mariupol, a Ukrainian city that has been the focus of intense conflict during the invasion. By road, the town is roughly 186 miles (300 kilometers) from the nearest border with Ukraine. The town is also located close to a Russian military base.
The pilot of the jet is believed to have survived the crash, with a photo published by BNO News showing a parachute above the explosion caused by the incident.
Local emergency service workers in Yeysk told Interfax that the crash and resulting explosion engulfed five floors of the apartment building in flames. A few floors higher up collapsed and 45 apartment units have so far been damaged. Tass later reported that all nine floors of the building were on fire.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the incident, according to Al Jazeera, and has ordered emergency and health officials to send aid. Regional Governor Veniamin Kondratyev posted about the response to the crash on Telegram, saying that fire and rescue units were dispatched to the scene. Military investigators are also working to determine more details about what led to the crash.
Along the southern edge of the Sea of Azov is the Kerch Strait, over which runs a strategically vital bridge connecting Crimea to mainland Russia. On October 8, an explosion rocked the bridge in the early morning hours, eventually causing parts of the structure to collapse. Russian officials called the incident an act of terrorism, while Ukraine did not officially take credit for it.
Newsweek reached out to officials with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.