“Ukrainian Prisoners of War on board Russian jet as it crashes in Moscow”

A Russian Ilyushin-76 military transport plane crashed in the southern Belgorod region bordering Ukraine. The plane was carrying 65 captured Ukrainian military personnel for a prisoner exchange, according to Russia’s ministry of defence. Additionally, nine other people, including six crew members, were on board.

The details surrounding those on board cannot be verified independently. Video shared on social media showed the plane going down followed by an explosion and a fireball near the village of Yablonovo, 70km (44 miles) to the north-east of Belgorod. The regional governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, confirmed that everyone on board had died.

Ukraine’s general staff initially speculated that the plane may have been downed by Ukrainian forces, but those reports were later deleted. Amid the confusion, the Ukrainian government issued a warning about Russia’s “special information operations” aimed at destabilizing Ukrainian society.

The crash prompted a nationwide air raid alert in Ukraine. Belgorod, located near the border with Ukraine, has faced casualties from air strikes and drones since the war in Ukraine began.

The historic background of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine surrounding the exchange of prisoners and the ongoing military tensions has been a point of contention for both countries. The crash of the Ilyushin-76 plane adds yet another tragic chapter to this fraught relationship.

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