Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Bomber Crashes in 6th Military Aircraft Loss in One Month

A Russian Tu-95 strategic bomber.

A Russian Tu-95 “Bear” strategic bomber crashed during routine training in Russia's Far East on Tuesday, news agency RIA Novosti reported, marking the second loss of a Tu-95 bomber and the sixth loss of a Russian military aircraft in a little over a month.

Russia's aging aircraft fleet has been called into heavy service over the past 18 months as relations with the West deteriorated over the crisis in Ukraine. The NATO military alliance has said it intercepted 400 Russian aircraft near its borders last year — a 50 percent increase over 2013.

The increased flight rate is taking a toll on Russia's fleets of MiG-29, Su-24 and Su-34 fighter jets, as well as the Tu-95 long-range bombers, all of which have experienced accidents since the beginning of June.

The Defense Ministry said the crew in Tuesday's crash managed to bail out of the aircraft before it went down, and that it was not loaded with weapons. The Tu-95 is capable of carrying nuclear bombs or cruise missiles.

An unidentified Defense Ministry source told RIA Novosti that the cause of the accident was “most likely a technical failure.” The last Tu-95 crash in early June was the result of an engine fire during takeoff.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.