74 people, including 65 Ukrainian service members, were killed in the crash in Belgorod Region
Ukraine has knowingly downed a Russian plane with its own prisoners of war in order to pin this “terrorist act” on Moscow, the Defense Ministry has said, adding that Kiev has once again shown its true colors.
In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry revealed the details of the crash of an IL-76 cargo plane in Belgorod Region, which claimed the lives of 65 Ukrainian POWs, as well as six crew members and three Russian soldiers.
The Defense Ministry said the “Kiev regime committed a terrorist act” by downing the Russian plane en route from the Chkalovsky military airbase near Moscow to Belgorod, which was transporting POWs for a further prisoner exchange.
Officials noted that the plane was hit at 11:15am local time by Ukrainian air defense forces stationed in Kharkov Region, adding that the military had registered the launch of two missiles.
Confirming that everyone aboard was killed in the attack, the ministry said that the Ukrainian leadership was well aware of the flight and its mission. It noted that Moscow and Kiev had agreed to conduct a prisoner exchange later on Wednesday near the Russian border village of Kolotilovka in Belgorod Region.
Nevertheless, the Nazi Kiev regime [carried out this attack] in a bid to accuse Russia of killing members of the Ukrainian military. By committing this terrorist act, the Ukrainian leadership showed its true face, disregarding the lives of its citizens.
Russian officials stated earlier that the attack used either US-made or German air defense systems, with State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin urging Kiev’s Western backers to finally realize that they are backing a “Nazi regime.”
Russian MP Andrey Kartapolov said there was a second Russian plane carrying another 80 captured Ukrainian troops, which had to be swiftly diverted from the danger zone after the first aircraft was attacked.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has so far declined to comment on the incident, saying only that it was looking into the matter. However, Andrey Yusov, a spokesman for Kiev’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR), confirmed that Russia and Ukraine were indeed scheduled to carry out a prisoner exchange on Wednesday, adding that it had since been canceled.
Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda initially reported, citing unnamed defense officials in Kiev, that the Il-76 was destroyed by the country’s military. Later, however, it removed the mention of Kiev’s role in the attack.
January 24, 2024 at 05:59PM