A military plane has crashed in Ukraine, killing 26 people, most of them air force cadets

A military plane has crashed in Ukraine, killing 26 people, most of them air force cadets.

The Antonov 26 crashed near the eastern city of Kharkiv.

The plane was carrying 20  Ukrainian Airforce cadets and 7 officers from Kharkiv Air Force University and was on a training flight.

The crash is being investigated and officials say it was initially learned that it was the captain himself, not the cadets, who blew it up when the plane crashed.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said the plane crashed about two kilometers from a military airport in the town of Chuhov.

The fire on the plane was later extinguished.

An eyewitness told Reuters he saw a burning man running out of the rubble.

"Another car stopped behind us," he said. We took a fire extinguisher and ran after them with another driver to help.

Earlier, it was reported that two people were alive in the accident, but one died later at the hospital.

Announcing a day of mourning, President Vladimir Zelensky said he wanted an "objective and impartial" investigation into the incident immediately.

He said: 'We have lost young cadets and veterans in the accident that cost them their lives. It is difficult to choose the words to describe this loss.

The president's office said the president had banned all such flights until the cause of the crash was determined.

According to reports, researchers are currently considering four possible reasons, including a technical malfunction in the aircraft, poor performance of air crew or ground control, or a lack of maintenance.

Defense Secretary Andrew Tarn said the plane "probably hit the ground" and then caught fire.

The Ukrainian security service said in a statement that five minutes before the crash, the flight commander had asked permission to land due to a left engine failure.

In this regard, it is unlikely that the accident was caused by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

It should be noted that the city of Chuovyev is 100 km away from the front where government forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists.

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