MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The aircraft was fulfilling training exercises and was unarmed. A search for the seven crewmembers has begun.
“At 9:50 a.m. Moscow time [06:50 GMT] on July 14, 2015, a Tu-95 crashed during a planned training flight 80 kilometers from Khabarovsk. The flight was conducted without weapons,” the Defense Ministry said.
"According to preliminary data, after the aircraft commander reported an emergency situation [aboard the plane] the flight commander ordered the crew to leave the aircraft on parachutes," the ministry said.
"Pilots aboard another plane flying in that area reported seeing open parachutes of the Tu-95 crew," the statement continued.
The ministry said in the statement the crash had probably been caused by a malfunction, although other causes were not ruled out.
The Tupolev Tu-95 (NATO reporting name Bear) is a four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform in service with the Russian Air Force since 1957.
The Russian Air Force has a string of six mishaps involving its warplanes since June.