MOSCOW – A Russian fighter jet based on an aircraft carrier currently near Syria’s shores has crashed on a training mission, but its pilot bailed out safely, the Defense Ministry said Monday.
The ministry said the crash of the MiG-29K fighter will not affect the operations of the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier.
“The Russian aircraft carrier group is continuing its operations in the Mediterranean in accordance with plan,” it said in a statement. “Flights of carrier-borne aircraft are continuing.”
The jet’s pilot was quickly rescued and suffered no injuries, the ministry said.
It added that the jet crashed a few kilometers away from the carrier due to a technical problem while on its way to land, but didn’t elaborate.
The carrier and escorting ships arrived in the eastern Mediterranean Sea last week. Pilots of the carrier-borne fighters have been conducting flights over Syria to survey the area.
NATO has expressed concern about the Russian carrier group’s deployment, saying the move could presage an increase in the number of Russian air raids in Syria, particularly around the besieged city of Aleppo.
Attacks by Russian and Syrian air forces on targets near Syria’s second-largest city of Aleppo have reportedly been suspended for the past four weeks.
The defense ministry did not say when the crash occurred, but said the plane was taking part in training flights.