Russian Ilyushin-76 Aircraft Crashes Carrying Ukrainian PoWs
The crash footage of the Russian aircraft IL-76 was uploaded on social media, but there was no confirmation until Russia's Ministry of Defence announced that sixty-five Ukrainian Prisoners of War (POW) who had been apprehended were on the jet that was flying to the region for a prisoner exchange. A video posted on social media near the village of Yablonovo, some 70 kilometres (44 miles) northeast of Belgorod, shows a plane crash followed by an explosion and a flame. The incident occurred at around 11:00 local time (08:00 GMT).
Ukrainian authorities first claimed that S-300 air defence missiles were on board. After some time had elapsed, the Ukrainian military intelligence agency published a statement accusing Russia of putting the lives of prisoners of war in peril.
According to Vyacheslav Gladkov, the regional governor of Russia's Belgorod area, the jet is said to have crashed in a field near a residential neighbourhood, destroying everyone on board.
It added in a statement that it was Russia's job "to safeguard the safety of our defenders under the agreements that had been established," but that it had not been informed that the airspace needed to be defended "at the defined time," as it had been on numerous previous times.