12:22 24 Jan 2024

IL-76 plane crashes in Belgorod: Russia claims 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war were on board

A military transport plane, Il-76, has crashed in the Belgorod Oblast, Russia.

According to the information reported on social media, there is a possibility that Ukrainian prisoners of war were on board. 

The Telegram channel "112" reported that the military plane Il-76 crashed in the Belgorod Oblast, specifically in the Korocha district, as per our source. Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov confirmed an "incident," stating that investigative groups and Emergency Situations Ministry staff are working at the scene.

Footage shows the plane, not gaining altitude, sharply descending and subsequently colliding with the ground, followed by a powerful explosion.

According to the Telegram channel Mash, the region had declared a missile danger sometime before the crash.

The channel "Belgorod-Fonar" reports, citing a source, that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) might have been shot down in the vicinity of the plane crash.

Later, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that the Il-76 plane had crashed in the Belgorod Oblast. Russian media, citing the ministry, reported that it happened during a routine flight. The Russian authority claims that there were supposedly 65 Ukrainian military servicemen, prisoners of war, on board, being transported for an exchange. There were also six crew members and three accompanying individuals.

The Ukrainian side has not commented on this statement so far. However, several Ukrainian media outlets, citing their sources, reported that the downing of the Il-76 military transport plane is the work of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. According to Ukrainian sources, this aircraft likely carried missiles for the S-300 complexes.

What we know about plane crashes in Russia

This is not the first case of plane crashes in Russia. In 2022, on October 17, a military plane crashed into residential buildings in the Russian city of Yeysk. The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the Su-34 aircraft crashed during a training flight from the Southern Military District's military airfield.

On February 23, 2023, a Russian Ministry of Defense plane crashed in the Valuysky urban district of the Belgorod Oblast, and in September 2023, another plane, the Su-34 fighter-bomber, crashed in the Voronezh Oblast.

The Ministry of Defense mentioned that the plane was flying without ammunition and crashed far from populated areas. The preliminary cause of the accident is considered a technical malfunction, as stated in the report.

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