Tupolev Tu-22M3 bomber crashes onto the field in Southern Russia

Tupolev Tu-22 bomber aircraft crashes in Southern Russia

The Russian Defence Ministry confirmed the crash of a Tu-22M3 bomber plane in the Stavropol region of Russia.

According to the ministry, the aircraft crashed when returning to its home airfield after completing a combat mission. A technical malfunction was named to be the preliminary cause of the accident.

"Three crew members ejected, the search for one pilot is underway. There was no ammunition on board the plane, no damage was caused on the ground,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The Tu-22M3 plane crashed in the Krasnogvardeisky district in the Stavropol region on the morning of Friday, April 19. The governor of the region, Vladimir Vladimirov, published footage from the crash site, showing the smoking wreckage of the aircraft. According to him, the pilots survived and were hospitalised.

It became known later that the first crew commander of the Tu-22M3 bomber, which crashed in the Stavropol Territory, ejected his assistant, the navigator and the navigator-operator. The commander himself remained in the cockpit and steered the plane away from residential buildings until the last moment.

According to Mash Telegram channel, the second crew member could not be saved. The lives of two other pilots are out of danger, medical specialists are working with them.

According to Mash, the plane crashed due to the loss of thrust in one of the engines.

Ukraine claims Tu-22 was shot down

At the same time, Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force Nikolai Oleshchuk said that Kyiv was involved in the crash of the Russian Tu-22M3 aircraft in the Stavropol region.

"This is the first time when anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force, in cooperation with the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, destroyed the long-range strategic bomber Tu-22M3, a carrier of X-22 cruise missiles," he said.

The Tupolev Tu-22M (NATO reporting name: Backfire) is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber. It was developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau in the 1960s. As of 2021, there were 66 of the aircraft in service. 

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin
Editor Dmitry Sudakov