An Il-76 Candid heavy cargo jet of Russian Air Space Forces has crashed in the Korochansky district of Belgorod region, Russia, not far from the Ukrainian border.
The governor of the region confirmed the incident and reported that investigative teams and emergency services were swiftly deployed to the crash site.
Russian Telegram channels have also confirmed that the IL-76 was likely shot down. Videos circulating from the scene show what appears to be missile trails in the sky, followed by footage of the burning aircraft as it descended.
Russian state news agency RIA quoted the defense ministry as saying the cargo jet was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war to be exchanged for Russian captives.
The plane was carrying 74 people, including six crew and three guards when it crashed, RIA cited the defence ministry as saying. There was no immediate information on the cause.
However, these reports remain unconfirmed, and no official statements verify the number of killed.
⚡️ According to our sources in the Defense Forces, the downing of the Russian Il-76 is the work of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The General Staff also informed us that the plane was transporting missiles to the S-300 complexes, with which the Russians are shelling Kharkiv Oblast pic.twitter.com/2v9ZeeZ1ol
— Ukrainska Pravda in English (@pravda_eng) January 24, 2024