(CTN News) – As a result of the crash of a Russian Ilyushin-76 military transport plane in southern Belgorod, bordering Ukraine, on Wednesday, at least 65 people killed, the Russian Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday.
There are Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) on board, according to the Russian news agency Ria Novosti, and they will be exchanged in a swap deal with the US.
According to Reuters, the local governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, told the media that an unspecified “incident” had taken place in the Korochansky district, northeast of the city of Belgorod, which he was going to inspect.
There were already investigators on the scene, as well as emergency workers who were on the way.
There was a video shared on a Russian security channel’s Telegram messenger app that showed a large aircraft falling towards the ground and bursting into a fireball as it fell towards the ground.
The defence ministry was quoted by the Russian news agency RIA as saying that the plane was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war along with six crew members and three other people when it went down.
As of yet, there are no details regarding the cause of the accident.
A military transport aircraft such as the Il-76 is designed to airlift troops, cargo, military equipment, and weapons via the airspace. A normal crew of five people works on the plane, and it can carry as many as 90 passengers.
It has been reported that the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, has been subjected to frequent attacks by that country, including a missile attack in December that resulted in 25 deaths.