A Russian military IL-76 plane exploded in a fireball as it took off from a remote airbase carrying ammunitions from Tajikistan.
The Il-76 was on the runway when an engine erupted in flames. The plane rolled off the runway as the inferno spread.
The crew and any passengers escaped before the hulking military transporter was engulfed in flames, said reports.
There are believed to have been eight on board moving an unspecified military cargo.
Footage showed the burning Russian defence ministry aircraft at Ayni airbase near capital Dushanbe in ex-Soviet republic Tajikistan.
It is also known as Gissar Air Base.
The plane’s registration number was initially not disclosed, according to Telegram channel reports.
But the wrecked plane is believed to be RF-86900 – used previously to supply Putin’s war effort via Belarus.
Details of its cargo have not been disclosed “for wartime political reasons”, according to a comment from a source.
One anonymous eyewitness said the initial blaze was in a the which ignited the engine
He also said the plane may have belonged to Vladimir Putin’s elite Pskov airborne troops.
They are reported to have lost five Il-76s in strikes by Ukraine.
“If it’s Pskov regiment then it’s a real disaster – we have lost five already,” he said.
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