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Russian Plane Crashed Near Ukraine, Killing All Aboard—Cause Yet Unknown: What We Know

The Russian Defence Ministry said that the aircraft was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were transported for an exchange with Russian service personnel.

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AP
Handout photo taken from validated UGC video shows flames rising from Crashed Russian Plane Photo: AP
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A large Russian military transport plane crashed yesterday in the Belgorod region near the Ukraine border, killing everyone on board, according to the Russian Defence Ministry. 

The ministry said that the aircraft was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were transported for an exchange with Russian service personnel. Ukraine and Russia have taken part in several prisoner swaps since the start of the war.

What was the plane and who was on board?

The aircraft was an Ilyushin Il-76, a large military transport plane designed for transporting troops, cargo, or weapons. Russia said that the aircraft also carried 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, along with six Russian crew members and three Russian soldiers. 

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The plane crashed into a huge fireball, killing all 74 people on board, the Russian defence ministry said.

However, Ukrainian military intelligence said that it has no reliable information about who was aboard the crashed plane.

Cause of the Aircraft Crash 

According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, the plane was hit while travelling from a military aerodrome near Moscow to Belgorod. Belgorod, located close to the Ukraine border, has faced recent Ukrainian air strikes.

The ministry said, without providing evidence, that radars detected the launch of two Ukrainian missiles.

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Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, in his Wednesday evening address, stated, "It is obvious that the Russians are playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners, with the feelings of their relatives, and with the emotions of our society." However, he did not confirm or deny Russia’s claims.

On Thursday, the Security Service of Ukraine announced the initiation of a criminal investigation into the shooting down of a Russian military plane.

As of now, it remains unclear whether the Russian military transport aircraft was brought down by a missile or suffered from some catastrophic technical failure. 

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