Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 27 February 2024 10.42 PM IST

74 dead as Russian military plane crashes in Belgorod; 65 people in plane were Ukrainian Prisoners of War


MOSCOW: 74 people were killed after a Russian military plane crashed in the Belgorod region of Russia on Wednesday. 65 of the dead were Ukrainian Prisoners of War. Six of the dead were flight attendants and three were Russian security officials. The cause of the accident is unclear. However, the Russian Defense Ministry alleged that the plane was shot down by Ukraine. It was also reported that the plane was coming from Chkalovsky Air Base near Moscow to Belgorod as part of a prisoner exchange.

The Ilyushin IL-76 plane crashed in the Belgorod region of Russia near the border of Ukraine at around 1:30 PM yesterday Indian time. The plane crashed in an uninhabited area six kilometres from the village of Yablonovo in the Korocha district and was completely burnt. It is also reported the plane was hit by three missiles fired either from the American-made Patriot missile system in the Kharkiv region or the German-made Iris.

Another plane carrying 80 prisoners of war had also flown behind the plane that crashed. It was later diverted due to the accident.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Both countries have been handing over prisoners of war, including soldiers, on the basis of a treaty. Both had handed over more than 200 prisoners of war earlier this month.

Missile shot by Ukraine?
The preliminary assessment is that the plane may have been shot down. Ukraine has not denied that it shot down the plane. However, it confirmed yesterday it had decided to exchange the prisoners of war. Ukraine, which responded that Russia had not told them to ensure the security of the airspace near Belgorod, did not say whether prisoners of war were among the dead.

On Tuesday, 18 people were killed in a missile attack by Russia on Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv. Following this, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded that Ukraine would retaliate against the attack.

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