Heartbreak and fear in Russia as military planes crash into civilian residences

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On the night of October 17, the Ischenko family would have sat down to dinner in their apartment on the seventh floor of a building in the southern Russian port city of Yeysk.

But as the family gathered, a Russian Su-34 supersonic attack plane crashed through their apartment window, sending a huge plume of fire into the sky. All seven members of the Ischenko family, including three children, were killed.

“After a few phone calls, I thought at least one child should be left alive,” said Andrei Ischenko, who lost his brother, sister-in-law and their children and grandchildren in the crash. “I was ready, if the parents died, to adopt the children. But it happened like that,” he said. added in an interview with the 7×7 media

The Yeysk tragedy was just the first of two recent incidents in which Russian warplanes crashed into civilian areas. Days later on Sunday, an Su-30 jet plane plunged into a two-story house in Siberia, killing the two pilots on board.

The crashes have sown fear and panic in Russia, with some Russians expressing feelings that their country’s invasion of Ukraine is getting ever closer to home.

“When the incident happened, everyone thought war had come to us, until we later found out it was a plane crash,” said Alan Kachmazov , a resident of Yeysk, to the Moscow Times.

Separated from southern Ukraine by a narrow stretch of the Sea of ​​Azov, Yeysk is home to an air base that served as a launching pad for the Russian Air Force throughout the invasion of Ukraine .

“Even before [the crash]residents were worried about the planes flying over the city every day,” Kachmazov said.

But the building crash, which killed a total of 15 people and injured 43 others, has some residents demanding answers over the deadliest military incident on Russian soil since the invasion began .

“Well, the mourning is over, the guilty are not guilty,” Igor Korenev wrote in a social media post about the Yeysk disaster.

“The planes again flew over residential areas, as if the fields and the sea were not enough for training purposes. Mistakes teach nothing to those who are not really responsible for them! Korenev, from the Rostov region in southern Russia, added.

The Ministry of Defense has said the aircraft crashed due to a malfunction in one of the engine ignition systems during takeoff.

The Investigative Committee, the Russian equivalent of the FBI, has launched a criminal investigation into possible flight rule violations.

Photos from the aftermath of the incident, which forced hundreds civilians from their homes, show collapsed walls and mounds of burnt rubble.

A few days later, another military plane slammed into the ground in the Siberian city of Irkutsk. Although no civilians were injured, the crash killed both pilots, who reportedly lost consciousness as the plane nosedived.

Later footage showed a burning house in the center of Irkutsk, a city of 600,000, prompting complaints that Russian authorities had again failed to protect citizens from the country’s own military aircraft.

“An uncontrolled plane was flying over the city, why was there no warning for the inhabitants?” Artyom Valhala of Irkutsk said in a comment on the VKontakte social network.

Eight months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the crashes, along with Moscow’s recent ‘partial’ mobilization push, remind many Russians of the war raging on their borders despite their efforts to keep on living. normally.

But in Yeysk, just 60 kilometers across the sea from Russian-occupied Mariupol, ignoring the war has become increasingly difficult as planes fly overhead and locals cry.

“Everyone across the city realized it could have easily been them,” Kachmazov said.

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