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Russian plane crashed after shot by Ukrainian Air Defense Missile
Russian accuses Ukraine of shooting down a military transport aircraft carring Ukrainian POWs
On January 24, 2024, in a tragic incident near Ukraine, a IL-76 military transport plane crashed in the southern Belgorod region. The Ministry of Defence in Russia reported that the aircraft was carrying 65 captured Ukrainian military personnel or POW (Prisoners Of War) for a planned prisoner exchange. The russian plane crash occurred near the village of Yablonovo, approximately 70km northeast of Belgorod, resulting in the death of all nine people on board, including six crew members.
Ukrainian military intelligence responded by accusing Russia of jeopardizing the lives of prisoners of war, hinting at a potential responsibility gap. Speculation emerged as the Ukrainian statement suggested the possibility of the plane being shot down, raising concerns about the safety of the airspace over Belgorod.
Social media footage depicted the plane’s descent, followed by an explosion and a fireball. Vyacheslav Gladkov, the regional governor of Belgorod, confirmed the crash in a field near a residential area. Initial reports from Ukraine’s general staff suggested that the plane was transporting missiles for Russia’s S-300 air defense systems, but Ukrainian military intelligence later acknowledged the potential presence of Ukrainian captive soldiers on board.
The situation remains fluid as conflicting statements emerge from Russian and Ukrainian officials. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, accused Ukraine of targeting the plane with a missile and called for an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting. The White House is actively seeking more information about the incident.
About the aircraft: Ilyushin-76 (IL-76)
The Ilyushin-76 is a multi-purpose four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter designed and originally manufactured by the Soviet Union’s Ilyushin Design Bureau. It is one of the world’s most widely used military transport aircraft, known for its versatility and reliability. Here are some basic details about the IL-76:
- Role: Strategic airlifter, military transport aircraft
- First Flight: March 25, 1971
- Manufacturer: Ilyushin Design Bureau (Russia)
- Primary Users: Russian Air Force, Ukrainian Air Force, Indian Air Force, and several others
- Capacity: Can carry up to 225 soldiers or 50 tons of cargo
- Range: Approximately 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles)
- Crew: Typically requires a crew of seven members, including pilots and loadmasters
- Variants: Several variants of the IL-76 exist, adapted for various roles, including electronic warfare, aerial refueling, and airborne early warning.