65 Ukrainian Prisoners of War Feared Dead as Russian Plane Crashes Near Border

In a tragic incident on Wednesday, a Russian Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane crashed near the Ukrainian border. According to the state news agency RIA, the Russian defence ministry revealed that the aircraft was en route to exchange 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war. The total on board included six crew members and three others.

The cause of the crash is yet to be determined.

A video posted on the Telegram messenger app by Baza, a channel linked to Russian security services, showed the large aircraft plummeting to the ground and erupting in a massive fireball.

The Il-76, designed for military transport purposes, normally accommodates a crew of five and can carry up to 90 passengers along with cargo, troops, and military equipment.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the local governor, confirmed an “incident” in the Korochansky district, northeast of Belgorod city, and mentioned his intention to inspect the crash site. Investigators and emergency responders were already present, addressing the situation.

The Kremlin responded to inquiries, stating that they are actively investigating the incident. The Belgorod region, which shares a border with Ukraine, has experienced frequent attacks in recent months, including a December missile strike that claimed 25 lives.

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