Russia claims that Ukraine shot down a military airliner, killing every one of the 74 people inside

Russia said on Wednesday that Ukraine had shot down a Russian military plane close to the Ukrainian border, killing all 74 people on board, including numerous Ukrainian service members who were being flown in exchange for prisoners. Situated 5 to 6 kilometers (about 3 to 3.7 miles) from the settlement of Yablonovo in the Belgorod region, the Ilyushin-76 cargo plane crashed inside Russian airspace. Both Russia’s Defense Ministry and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov referred to it as an act of terrorism. Using an anti-aircraft missile system, the Ukrainian Armed Forces from the Liptsy area of the Kharkiv region downed the plane, according to a statement from the ministry.

 

The military command of Ukraine stated that it considered Russian military aircraft that were heading towards Belgorod as valid targets, although it did not confirm that the plane was fired upon. The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces indicated in a carefully worded statement that Russian cargo planes delivering weapons near the border are helping to facilitate the recent attacks on Kharkiv, which is only 18 miles (30 km) from Russia. According to the statement, “the increase in military transport aircraft that have been flying to the Belgorod airfield recently is directly related to the recorded intensity of the shelling.

 

In light of this, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will keep taking action to neutralize the terrorist threat by destroying means of delivery and controlling airspace, especially in the Belgorod–Kharkiv area. The aircraft was reportedly carrying missiles for the S-300 air defense system, according to Ukrainian officials previously. CNN is unable to independently confirm the accusations of either side. Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, demanded an international investigation and accused Russia of “playing with the lives” of Ukrainian prisoners of war, stating that “given that the plane crash happened on Russian territory that is beyond our control, it is necessary to establish clear facts as much as possible.”

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