Kiev, 26 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Only two people survived and 25 people were killed late on Friday when an Antonov An-26 military aircraft crashed in eastern Ukraine, the civil defence authority in Kiev said.
Two seriously injured survivors who were said to have jumped from the plane have been recovered from the wreckage in the city of Chuhuiv in the Kharkiv region, the authority said.
A total of 27 people were believed to have been on board the aircraft when it crashed on the approach to the runway, including seven crew members and 20 students from the Air Force University.
The number was initially given as 28, but it was discovered one student had not arrived for the flight.
A wreck burning in the dark could be seen in pictures posted on social media.
Kharkiv Governor Alexei Kuchera had posted a message on Telegram about the crash, also saying there were survivors and confirming there were dead. He said he was on his way to the site.
Kuchera said that one of the plane‘s engines failed. However the cause of the crash during what was supposed to have been a training flight was still uncertain.
Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would visit the site on Saturday.
The Ukrainian military also confirmed the crash on Facebook.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell reacted with dismay to the news from Ukraine, which he had visited for the first time in office himself this week.
He expressed his condolences to the victims’ families and his sympathy to the Ukrainian president, via Twitter.
The region is located around 40 kilometres from the Russian border in the east of crisis-ridden Ukraine, but not in the war zone there.
Russian-backed sepratists are fighting Ukrainian government troops in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, 250 kilometres from the crash site.
According to UN estimates, more than 13,000 deaths have occurred in the war since 2014.