Crew member dies when Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber crashes into a mountain

According to Russian state media, a Russian Su-34 fighter jet crashed east of the Black Sea, killing several crew members.

The plane crashed into a mountain during a training flight in North Ossetia-Alania, a small Russian republic bordering Georgia, Kremlin-backed media reported on Tuesday, citing the Moscow Defense Ministry.

The two crew members on board were killed, reported the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. The plane suffered a “technical malfunction,” reported news agencies in the country. The plane crashed in a “deserted area.”

Russia has used its all-weather, supersonic Su-34 fighter-bomber extensively in the more than two years of fighting against Ukraine. But Moscow’s aircraft have also suffered numerous non-combat losses away from the front lines, often attributed to technical defects.

Su-34 Jet
Two Russian Su-34 military jets take part in a display flight during the MAKS 2017 air show in Zhukovsky, Russia, on July 18, 2017. A Russian Su-34 fighter jet crashed east of the…


Experts previously said Newsweek that the high number of reported accidents involving Russian aircraft is likely due to limited training time, a lack of experienced pilots, the demands of combat operations in Ukraine and declining safety standards.

In mid-September 2023, a Su-34 crashed during a training flight in the Russian region of Voronezh, which borders the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk. Moscow said the two crew members on board the jet managed to save themselves using the ejection seat before the plane crashed. The accident was due to a “technical malfunction,” Moscow said.

In October 2022, Russian authorities said 15 people were killed when a Su-34 crashed into a residential building in Yeisk, a city in the southern Russian Krasnodar region.

Russian state media reported at the time, citing Russian security authorities, that two seagulls were sucked into the engines as the plane took off, causing a fire in one of the engines.

Footage from near the crash site showed that the plane was already on fire before it hit the apartment complex and that thick smoke was then rising from the building.

Since February 2022, several other Russian aircraft types have also been involved in accidents. In August 2023, a Russian Su-30 fighter jet crashed in an uninhabited area during a training flight in the Kaliningrad exclave, killing both crew members, a Russian military spokesman told the Tass news agency. Authorities blamed a technical malfunction for the accident.

In October 2022, a Su-30 crashed into a house in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, again killing both crew members.