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Plane crash in Belgorod killed 65 Ukrainian POWs en route to prisoner swap, says Russia’s Defense Ministry

An Il-76 military transport plane crashed in the Belgorod Region earlier today with 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) on board who were en route for exchange, according to a report by the state-owned RIA Novosti agency citing the Russian Defense Ministry.

Six crew members and three accompanying persons were also on board the aircraft at the time of the crash.

The Defense Ministry confirmed that the Il-76 transport plane crashed at about 11.00 Moscow time. A commission sent by Russia’s Aerospace Forces is currently on its way to the crash site to investigate the causes. The Telegram channel 112, which reportedly has close ties to the Russian security forces, wrote that all the people on board the aircraft were killed, according to preliminary data.

Ukrainska Pravda, citing sources in the Armed Forces of Ukraine General Staff, claimed that the downing of the plane was “the work of the AFU.” According to the Ukrainian military, the plane was carrying missiles to the S-300 complexes with which the Russians are shelling Kharkiv.

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