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24 Jan, 2024 12:29

Belgorod plane attack: Kiev deliberately shot down plane carrying its POWs, Moscow says

74 people, including 65 Ukrainian service members, were killed in the crash in Belgorod Region
Belgorod plane attack: Kiev deliberately shot down plane carrying its POWs, Moscow says

Kiev's forces knowingly downed a Russian plane carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war that crashed on Wednesday, killing all on board, in order to pin the attack on Moscow, the Defense Ministry has said, adding that Kiev had once again shown its true colors.

In a statement following the incident, the ministry revealed that a Russian IL-76 cargo plane had crashed in Belgorod Region, claiming the lives of 65 Ukrainian POWs, as well as six crew members and three Russian soldiers. 

The Defense Ministry claimed that the “Kiev regime committed a terrorist act” by targeting the plane, which was transporting POWs for a further prisoner exchange, from the Chkalovsky military airbase near Moscow to Belgorod.

Russian officials stated that the plane had been 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 a second plane had been carrying another 80 captured Ukrainian troops, which was 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.

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