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4 Killed in Military Plane Crash South of Moscow

Defense experts have criticized Ilyushin-76 aircraft that are at least 30 years old and whose service life was on the verge of expiring.

A Russian military cargo plane crash landed south of Moscow on Friday, killing at least four out of nine to 10 people on board, according to media reports.

The Il-76 cargo aircraft crashed in the city of Ryazan 200 kilometers southeast of Moscow, officials said in a statement carried by news agencies. Reports said it was en route from the Urals city of Orenburg to Belgorod on the Ukrainian border.

“Two bodies were retrieved from the burning aircraft,” the state-run TASS news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying.

TASS later reported that the death toll has increased to four.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the crash occured due to engine failure. 

It did not indicate whether the Il-76 was transporting soldiers for deployment in Ukraine, where Russia has been waging a deadly four-month military campaign.

The local branch of Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said there was no destruction to infrastructure as a result of the crash.

Most Ilyushin-76 aircraft are at least 30 years old.

Once notorious for accidents, Russia's major airlines have shifted from aging Soviet aircraft to more modern planes.

But poor maintenance and lax safety standards persist, and the country regularly experiences civilian and military air disasters.

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