The crash happened around 2 kilometres from the Chuhuiv military air base, emergency services said, while the cause remains unknown.

In this TV grab released by Ukraine's Emergency Situation Ministry, an AN-26 military plane bursts into flames after it crashes in the town of Chuguyiv, near Kharkiv, Ukraine. September 25, 2020.
In this TV grab released by Ukraine's Emergency Situation Ministry, an AN-26 military plane bursts into flames after it crashes in the town of Chuguyiv, near Kharkiv, Ukraine. September 25, 2020. (AP)

At least 22 people, including military cadets, have been killed and two others seriously injured when a Ukranian air force transport plane crashed near Kharkiv in the east of the country, the interior ministry has said.

"Twenty-two people died," Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko told AFP on Friday, adding that  "the search for two other people is continuing."

The plane was carrying a total of 28 passengers when it crashed, including 21 military students and seven crew, Gerashchenko said.

"It's a shock," he added. "At the moment it's impossible to establish the cause of the crash."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would travel to the region on Saturday.

Investigators work at the crash site of the Ukrainian military Antonov An-26 plane outside of Chuhuiv town, Ukraine September 25, 2020.
Investigators work at the crash site of the Ukrainian military Antonov An-26 plane outside of Chuhuiv town, Ukraine September 25, 2020. (Reuters)

Investigation underway

"We are urgently creating a commission to investigate all the circumstances and causes of the tragedy," he wrote on Facebook.

The Antonov-26 transport aircraft crashed at around 8:50 pm local time (17:50 GMT), two kilometres from the Chuhuiv military air base, emergency services said.

The plane burst into flames upon impact, and the fire was extinguished after an hour.

The town of Chuhuiv is around 30 kilometres southeast of Kharkiv and 100 kilometres west of the front line with the pro-Russian separatists.

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Source: AFP