Military plane carrying aviation students crashes in Ukraine killing at least 22

At least 22 people were killed after a military plane crash in Ukraine, most of them air cadets.

The  Antonov-26 aircraft came down near the eastern city of Kharkiv as it was landing. Two others were critically injured. Emergency ministry officials say 27 people were on board.

The plane came down about 2 km from a military airport of Chuhuiv.

The cause of the crash is being investigated. The aircraft caught fire after the crash and was extinguished after one hour.

Kharkiv Regional Governor Oleksiy Kucher said preliminary information suggested that one of the pilots had reported failure in one engine before the crash, but that this should not have been a critical situation, Reuters reported.

“It’s a shock,” Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko told AFP news agency. “At the moment it’s impossible to establish the cause.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would travel to the region on Saturday. “We are urgently creating a commission to investigate all the circumstances and causes of the tragedy,” he wrote on Facebook.

Chuhuiv is located about 100 km from the front line where Ukraine government forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists. However, there is no suggestion that the crash is linked to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.