Kremlin claims Ukrainian PoWs were aboard crashed Il-76. Kyiv authorities checking reports
Il-76 aircraft (Photo: Russian media)

The Ministry of Defense of Russia claimed that 65 Ukrainian prisoners were on board the Il-76 transport plane that crashed in Belgorod Oblast. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense stated that they were investigating the information.

After the crash of the plane, Moscow alleged the death of 65 prisoners of war from the Defense Forces, as well as six crew members and three escorts.

The Russians claimed that they were being "taken for exchange."

In a comment to public broadcaster Suspilne, the Ministry of Defense stated that they could not yet confirm that the aircraft was hit by Ukrainian soldiers.

This information is still being clarified.

The cause of the aircraft's crash remains unknown at this time.

Russian sources claim 63 people were onboard, and that all perished in the incident.

On January 1, Ukraine's Defense Intelligence reported that an officer of the Russian Investigative Committee was eliminated in Belgorod as a result of strikes on Russian military facilities on December 30, 2023.

On January 5, the miitary intel reported that it conducted a raid in the Graivoronsky district of Belgorod Oblast, when the top military leadership of the Russian army planned an inspection due to alleged complaints from personnel about poor service conditions.

Later, the spy chief Kyrylo Budanov reported that a "quite prominent" person among the Russian officials was seriously injured as a result of the raid.