A military transport plane carrying air force cadets crashed and burst into flames near a highway in northeastern Ukraine yesterday evening, killing at least 25 people on board.
The Antonov An-26 aircraft crashed while trying to land during a training exercise, head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak said in a statement, adding that at least two people were critically injured.
Video posted by Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko on Facebook showed the plane in flames lying near a road and smoke billowing upwards in the night sky.
Footage taken later showed rescue workers inspecting the smoking wreckage near the town of Chuhuiv.
An investigation is ongoing on the cause, while President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was expected to travel to the area later today.
One pilot reported failure in the left engine of the twin-engined plane, said Oleksiy Kucher, the governor of the Kharkiv region, according to Interfax Ukraine, adding this would not have been a critical situation for an experienced pilot.
Citing preliminary information, Kucher said that some of the people on board managed to jump out of the plane when it was at low altitude.
An eyewitness who was driving along the road towards Chuhuiv told Reuters he saw a man in flames running from the plane after it crashed.
The crash happened around 2 km from a military airport.
The cadets were from the Kharkiv University of Air Force, run by the defence ministry.