Russian military plane carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war crashes; all 65 on board killed


  • A Russian Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane crashed near the Ukrainian border on Wednesday, January 24, 2024, killing all 74 people on board, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were being exchanged for Russian captives.
  • Russia’s defense ministry accused Ukraine of shooting down the plane with two missiles launched from its Kharkiv region, but did not provide any evidence to support its claim.
  • Ukraine did not immediately confirm or deny the allegation, but said it was investigating the incident.
  • The crash sparked outrage and condemnation from various international and human rights organizations, who demanded a transparent and impartial probe into the cause and the circumstances of the tragedy.

A Russian military cargo plane carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) crashed near the border with Ukraine on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 killing all the people including crew members who are Russians totaling to be 7

After delivering the POWs at a pre-determined spot for the prisoner exchange with Ukraine in an airfield of Ilyushin Il76 plane , it is alleged that this aircraft was shot down by two missiles fired from Kharkiv region, border to Belgorod Region.

The Russian defense ministry said that its radar registered the launch of the missiles at 11:Fifteen hundred hours and fifty minutes local (13: 15 GMT,08 However, the ministry did not give any evidence to support its claim; it blamed Ukraine for violating (the) Minsk agreements that seek to stop the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine did not immediately confirm or refute the Russian claim but said it was investigating what really happened. The Ukrainian military spokesperson noted that the Ukraninain armed forces did not deploy any air defense systems at the crash site, and she stated her country’s readiness to cooperate with an international investigation.

The plane crash provoked condemnation by many international and also human rights organizations, which demanded objective investigation of the aircraft accident. This was followed by a condemnation of the loss of lives from all sides including the UN, EU ,OSCE and human rights NGO’s such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch who called for upholding international law in through strict compliance with international humanitarian laws.

This was one of the confidence-building measures agreed between the leaders of Russia, Ukraine France and Germany in Normandy format summit held in Paris in December 2019 to ease tensions and solve the crisis that has been raging since secessionists rebels take up arms against government forces in eastern Ukraine.

The crash is the worst disaster related to any military plane in this region since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH-17) was shot down on July of 2014 where all the passengers died. The Dutch-led international investigation determined that the passenger plane was downed by a Russian-made Buk missile system brought into Ukraine from Russia through separatist support. This statement is issued by Russia concerning MH17 incident that they denied their involvement and also rejected the findings of the investigation.

The crash also occurs in the period of increased tensions between Russia and Ukraine, as well as with West after a recent accumulation of Russian troops and military hardware near Ukrainian border and occupied Crimea which was annexed by Russia from Ukraine back in 2014. Both Ukraine and its allies accuse Russia of preparing for a potential attack, while Russia disputes the claim that it is mobilizing to invade or has any intention on attacking Ukraine.

The crash has fueled concerns about a major intensification of the conflict, which has already killed well over 13 000 and left millions homeless. The OSCE, which oversees the Minsk agreements implementation has recorded an increased escalation of violence and also casualties over the past few weeks urging both sides to desist from any actions that threaten the fragile peace process.

Written by Zamir Azad

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