Russian plane shot down in Belgorod, exchange of accusations between Moscow and Kiev

The Moscow Defense Ministry confirmed that an Ilyushin Il-76 military transport aircraft crashed this morning in the Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine. The dynamics of what happened are currently unclear.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the plane was shot down by Ukrainian forces. “Kiev has committed an act of insane barbarism, demonstrating complete disregard for human life. They violated the agreements, killed our pilots and accompanying soldiers and 'sacrificed' their fellow citizens,” he commented, according to the Russian state news agency Tass. Rodion Miroshnik, a senior official in the Moscow Foreign Ministry. “This bloody incident,” Miroshnik continued, “raises a big question about the possibility of at least some agreements and in whatever form. The guarantees they give are sure to be violated if they have not already been violated. And there is no doubt about it.”
Vyacheslav Volodin, the president of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, accused the Ukrainians of shooting down the plane, which Moscow said was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were to be exchanged for Russian prisoners. This was reported by the Ria Novosti agency. According to Duma Defense Committee Chairman Andrei Kartapolov, the plane was shot down by “three missiles, either Patriot or Iris-T,” the first made in the United States and the second in Germany.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane, which Moscow said was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, had taken off from the Chkalovsky base northeast of Moscow and was en route to Belgorod when it was shot down by two Ukrainian missiles in this region, in the Liptsy region. “The Ukrainian leadership knew very well,” the ministry added in a statement, “that according to common practice, Ukrainian military personnel would be brought to Belgorod airport on military transport aircraft today for the exchange.” said to have taken place in the afternoon at the Kolotilovka checkpoint on the Russian-Ukrainian border “The Nazi regime in Kiev,” the Russian Defense Ministry continues, therefore voluntarily shot down the plane “with the aim of blaming Russia,” and “with this terrorist attack, the Ukrainian leadership showed its true face.”

The Ukrainian armed forces blame themselves for shooting down the plane, but according to the Kiev General Staff, it was carrying missiles to bases “from which the Russians often attack Kharkiv and the region.”. According to RBC Ukraine, the Russians admit that the plane crashed, but provide “their version that there were 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers on board,” as well as six crew members and three other soldiers.

“In order to reduce the threat of missiles, the Armed Forces of Ukraine not only control the airspace, but also monitor in detail the launch points of missiles and the logistics of their refueling, in particular through the use of military transport aircraft.” And “against this background, the Armed Forces of the “Ukraine will continue to take measures to destroy transport and control airspace to eliminate the terrorist threat, including in the Belgorod-Kharkiv direction.” This was written by the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in an update on Facebook on the day that the Russian Plane crashed in Belgorod.

The prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine planned for today “will not take place,” said Andriy Yusov, spokesman for the Ukrainian military intelligence agency Gur, on X, without providing any further information for the time being. The Kyiv Post adds that according to Yusov's own statements, the information provided by the Russian side is currently being verified, according to which prisoners of war could have been on the Il76 plane that crashed in the Belgorod region.

The director of the Russia Today television channel, Margarita Simonyan, published on her Telegram channel a list of alleged Ukrainian prisoners of war who were supposed to be released today as part of a prisoner exchange with Russian forces, but who reportedly died when the plane in which they were carrying was blown up they sat. Simonyan posted a photo with the names of the 65 prisoners and each person's date of birth. There is no official confirmation of the list. According to the Moscow Defense Ministry, the prisoners were in an Ilyushin-76 transport plane flying from the Chkalovsky base near Moscow to the Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine when it was shot down by two Ukrainian air defense missiles. The six crew members and three companions were also declared dead.

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