A Russian military plane crashed near Ukraine. Moscow says it was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war.

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Military transport plane Russia He said that the plane carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war crashed on Wednesday near… Ukraine The Russian authorities said that the plane was on the border, which led to the death of all those on board.

NBC News was unable to independently verify the identity of who was on board the plane or why it crashed near a city in the south of the country. Belgorod. The Ukrainian Armed Forces did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement published by the state-run TASS news agency that the Ilyushin Il-76 plane was “conducting a scheduled flight” when it went down in the area adjacent to Ukraine’s northeastern border.

“On board were 65 captured military personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces who were transported to the Belgorod region for exchange, in addition to six crew members and three accompanying persons,” the statement read.

She added that a team was sent to the accident site to investigate the causes of the accident.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod region, said in a statement on the Telegram application, “All those on board died,” adding that the plane “fell into a field near a populated area.”

He did not say whether anyone on the ground was killed or explain the cause of the accident.

Photo: (AP)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the Kremlin is studying the situation.

The head of the Russian Parliament’s Defense Committee, Andrei Kartapolov, said that the plane was shot down by three air defense missiles of the type that Ukraine supplied to its Western allies.

“The Ukrainian leadership was well aware of the impending exchange and was informed of how the prisoners would be delivered,” he said during a speech in parliament. He did not clarify the source of his information.

The two countries regularly conduct prisoner exchanges, even as they continue to fight along the war’s front lines in eastern and southern Ukraine.

It came from regions across western Russia, including Belgorod Under regular attack In recent weeks.

Russian officials accused Kiev of carrying out the attacks. Ukrainian officials rarely take public responsibility for attacks on Russian territory or occupied Crimea. However, previously larger air strikes against Russia have followed violent attacks on Ukrainian cities.

The population of Belgorod, the largest Russian city close to the border, is about 340,000 people. It is located about 60 miles north of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine.

This is a breaking news story. . Please check back for updates

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