Monday saw the latest evidence that Russia's ageing and poorly funded military is being pushed to the breaking point as a Russian military aircraft crashed while taking off on a night training flight. Both pilots were killed according to the Russian Defense Ministry, raising fresh questions about whether Russia's beleaguered military can keep pace with the vaulting ambitions of dictator Vladimir Putin.
The Su-24 bomber crashed shortly after taking off from an airfield in the Khabarovsk area in Russia's far east region, around 9:35 pm local time, according to a ministry statement. Shortly after gaining altitude, the plane banked steeply to the left, striking the ground and exploding into flames.
The military has grounded its fleet of Su-24s until the precise reason for the crash has been determined.
On Friday, a Russian MiG-29 fighter jet crashed in southern Russia and just last month a further three incidents occurred, as we covered here, that indicate Russia's Air Force can't handle the pace of provocation flights ordered by the Kremlin.