Russian Ilyushin Il-76 crashed near the Ukrainian border

Russian Air Force military transport aircraft are said to be transporting Ukrainian prisoners. Video shows four-engine jet crashing with engines apparently on fire and black cloud of smoke in the sky

A Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 military freighter crashed northeast of the city of Belgorod, near the border with Ukraine, on Wednesday.

According to the country’s Ministry of Defense, the aircraft was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, as well as nine crew members.

“On January 24 of this year, at about 11 am Moscow time, an Il-76 plane crashed during a scheduled flight in the Belgorod region. On board were 65 captured servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, transported to the Belgorod region for exchange, 6 aircraft crew and 3 companions”, stated the Russian government, according to the TASS agency.

A video posted on social media shows the IL-76 falling with fire signals on its engines and exploding on the ground.

A cloud of black smoke is then shown in the sky, a possible indication that it may have been shot down.

Ukrainska Pravda, however, said the four-engine military jet was carrying S-300 air defense missiles, according to sources in the Ukrainian General Staff.

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The Il-76 is the most numerous heavy transport aircraft in the Russian Air Force. Weeks ago, an airborne early warning (AEW) version of the A-50, which it is based on the Il-76, was shot down by Ukraine in the Sea of Azov.

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