Spain Bans Russian Aircraft

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When a Russian-made Yakolev-42 crashed in Turkey last week, 62 Spanish troops returning from Afghanistan were killed, along with 13 crew members. The accident raised questions in Spain about aviation safety, and on Sunday the Spanish government banned the use of aircraft from former Soviet-bloc countries, CNN reported Monday. Spanish officials at first defended the safety record of the airplane, but they later told CNN the ban will remain in place pending an investigation into the crash. The Yak had been chartered from a Ukrainian company. The safety of Russian aviation has been a recurring concern in the years since the breakup of the Soviet Union and a string of recent fatal accidents. Last summer, 71 people died when a Tupolev-154 Russian airliner collided with a cargo plane near the Swiss-German border, and 83 spectators at a Ukraine air show were killed when a Soviet-era Su-27 fighter jet plowed into the crowd. Just last month, in an incident in the Congo, the cargo door of an Ilyushin-76 opened in flight. Passengers were riding in back with the cargo, without seats or seatbelts. That aircraft was leased from the Ukrainian defense ministry.