MOSCOW — Two pilots of a Russian military aircraft were killed Monday when their jet crashed during a training mission in the far east of the country, the defence ministry said, the latest in a string of accidents involving military planes.

"The aircraft suffered a crash during take-off in a planned training flight near the Khurba aerodrome. The two pilots were killed," the ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

The wreckage of the Sukhoi Su-24 jet created a 20-meter-wide crater, state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported, but no casualties or property damage were recorded.

The defence ministry dispatched an investigation team to the scene to probe the causes of the plane's demise, TASS reported.

Officials did not offer any explanations for the crash and could not be reached for further comment on the incident.

The commander of the Russian Air Force declared a moratorium on flights of Sukhoi fighter jets until the reasons behind the latest crash were uncovered, Russian media reported.

The incident is Russia's fifth military plane accident in the last month and the second crash in the last few days, raising questions about the safety of Russian military aircraft.

On Friday, the pilot of a Mikoyan MiG-29 jet fighter that crashed in the Krasnodar region managed to eject himself from the cockpit. A faulty engine in thought to have caused the incident.

The Sukhoi Su-24 dates to the Soviet era but is still used by the Russian air force.

The last deadly crash involving a Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet occurred in February on the outskirts of the southern Russian city of Volgograd, TASS reported.

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