The district governor reports that all 74 people on board are dead
A Russian military transport plane, an Il-76, carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war crashed today in the Belgorod region, near Russia’s border with Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry announced, as reported by the RIA news agency.
The governor of the region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, confirmed that all on board were dead and said that the aircraft crashed in a field near a residential area.
“At approximately 11:00 Moscow time an Il-76 aircraft crashed in the Belgorod region. It was carrying 65 captured soldiers of the Ukrainian army who were being transported to the Belgorod region for a (prisoner) exchange, six crew members and three escorts,” the ministry said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the Il-76 transport aircraft was shot down by Ukraine, calling it a “barbaric act”.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces, however, deny the information that Ukrainian prisoners were on board and claim that the aircraft was carrying S-300 air defense missiles.
Video posted on Telegram by Baza, a channel linked to Russia’s security services, shows a large aircraft falling and exploding in a large fireball.
The speaker of the Russian Duma accused Ukraine of shooting down the Russian transport plane carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war that crashed a short time earlier in the Belgorod region.
“They killed in the air their own soldiers, their mothers, their children who were waiting for them,” complained Vyacheslav Volodin. “They killed our pilots who were carrying out a humanitarian mission (…) with American and German missiles,” he added, addressing the Russian parliamentarians.
Besides, the parliamentarian and retired general Andrei Kartapolov said that the Russian Il-76 transport aircraft was shot down by three missiles that the West has offered to Ukraine.
Although he did not explain the source of this information, Kartapolov added that investigators will find out whether the missiles were Patriot or IRIS-T.
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