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​Strange Location of russian Su-34 Plane Crash Makes it Hard to Believe it Was Simply Redeploying

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Illustrative photo: remnants of a different Su-34 downed in Ukraine / Photo credit: Ukraine Weapons Tracker via OSINT
Illustrative photo: remnants of a different Su-34 downed in Ukraine / Photo credit: Ukraine Weapons Tracker via OSINT

An accident causes another non-combat loss of Su-34 tactical bomber in the russian aerospace forces

Multiple local media in russia report a Su-34 frontline bomber from the country's aerospace forces has crashed in North Ossetia in a mountainous area, citing authorities in the russian Ministry of Defense.

According to preliminary data, the crew of the aircraft died. As far as investigation knows, the bomber allegedly fell during a training flight, the presumed cause of the incident is the usual one for russian aircraft in such cases — a mechanical failure. More details on this matter are yet to be officially announced.

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A russian Su-34 / Defense Express / Strange Location of russian Su-34 Plane Crash Makes it Hard to Believe it was Simply Redeploying
A russian Su-34 / Open-source illustrative photo

Open source data indicates that the russian Su-34 fell near the village of Gorny Dzuarikau, it's near Georgia and actually quite far from the Ukrainian frontlines (600 km+). Locals said they heard an explosion at night and saw the plane crash into a cliff.

That said, there is a strange nuance in this whole story: for example, the russian blogger Fighterbomber, known for his characteristic reporting on russian losses in aircraft, especially in Ukraine, claimed that the Su-34 crashed "while transferring to another airfield in the mountains of North Ossetia." This statement does not align with the official version about the training flight.

The Su-34 bomber was flying from the Mozdok airfield, and the important question here is where exactly it was headed, considering it crashed in the mountains a few dozen kilometers from Georgia with no military airfields nearby at all.

Purely theoretically, it could be relocating to Syria, but again, this would be a rather strange route choice. Therefore, the question — what the Su-34 was doing at night near Gorny Dzuarikau — remains open.

In general, this is not the first non-combat loss of Su-34 by the russian armed forces since the beginning of its full-scale war campaign against Ukraine. For instance, in September 2023, because of the same mechanical failure the crew of another Su-34 was unable to release one of the landing gear struts, as a result the pilots had to eject. One more Su-34 crashed in February 2023; and there was also that notable episode in October 2022, when a Su-34 crashed into a residential building in Yeysk.

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