Moscow: In a major development, all passengers including 65 Prisoners of War and nine others including six crew members were killed after a military plane crashed near the Ukrainian border on Wednesday. Local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, in a Telegram post, said, “A transport plane crashed in the Korochansky district. It fell in a field near the village. All those on board were killed.” Later, Russia’s Defence Ministry accused Ukrainian forces of shooting down a military transport plane.
The Russian Defence Ministry said that an IL-76 cargo aircraft carrying 65 captured Ukrainian service members as well as six crew members and three people accompanying the POWs went down during a pre-planned flight at around 11 am local time. The ministry said that the prisoners were being transported to the Belgorod region for an exchange. Two senior Russian lawmakers alleged, without providing evidence, that the plane was brought down by missiles launched by Ukrainian forces.
Notably, the Il-76 is a military transport aircraft designed to airlift troops, cargo, military equipment and weapons. It has a normal crew of five people and can carry up to 90 passengers.
Ukrainian missiles involved in the crash: Report
Local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said that an unspecified “incident” had occurred in the region’s Korochansky district, northeast of Belgorod city, and that he was going to inspect the site. He said investigators and emergency workers were already on the scene. The Kremlin said in response to a reporter’s question that it was looking into the situation. Some media reported that the Ukrainian army launched missiles which resulted in the crash. However, India TV is not in a position to verify the claims.
What Ukraine says
Ukraine’s Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War said it was looking into the crash but did not immediately provide any information. Instead, it cautioned against sharing “unverified information.”
“We emphasize that the enemy is actively conducting information special operations against Ukraine aimed at destabilizing Ukrainian society,” it said in a statement on Telegram.
Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, has come under frequent attacks from Ukraine in recent months, including a December missile strike which killed 25 people.