The aircraft went down near the Ukrainian border in Russia’s Belgorod area.

Latest War Updates : In the Russian border region of Belgorod, sixty-five Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) were killed when a Russian heavy-lift military transport aircraft, the IL-76, crashed. The transport of the POWs was part of a swap exchange. According to Russia, there were no survivors in the jet crash.

The IL-76 was out of the pilot’s control when it crashed close to a residential area, as seen in a distant video of the incident that showed the aircraft rapidly losing altitude and heading straight toward the ground. The aircraft burst into flames and crashed on its right wing.

“An IL-76 aircraft crashed in the Belgorod region during a routine flight at around 11 am Moscow time (0800 GMT),” the Moscow defense ministry was quoted by AFP as saying.

“On board were 65 captured Ukrainian army servicemen being transported to the Belgorod region for exchange, six crew members and three escorts,” said the statement.

Russia, meanwhile, has maintained that the aircraft was carrying prisoners of war; however, according to AFP, which cited Ukrainian local media, the aircraft was shot down by its own defense forces because it was carrying missiles for the S-300 surface-air defense system, not prisoners. Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Russian parliament, has charged Kyiv with shooting down the aircraft transporting POWs.

“They fired airguns at their own soldiers. In a plenary session, Volodin addressed the lawmakers as “their own.” “Our pilots, who were carrying out a humanitarian mission, were shot down.”

Regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov posted on Telegram that the crash happened in the Korochansky district, northeast of the region’s capital.

“Currently, emergency services and an investigation team are on the scene. Gladkov stated, “I have adjusted my work schedule and made the trip to the district.

The Russian IL-76 is intended to transport soldiers, supplies, and war hardware, including ammunition, howitzers, and tanks, by air. The aircraft was produced by Ilyushin and entered service during the USSR’s existence in the 1970s. The plane was intended to take the place of the An-12 (Antonov 12). The Indian Air Force also operates the aircraft, which comes in both military and civilian versions.

The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) C-17 Globemaster III and C-130J Hercules are US-based aircraft, while the IAF’s aging IL-76 fleet is limited.

Russia’s Ill-Fated Invasion

The two-year mark of the Russia-Ukraine war will be reached next month. Despite claiming to have a powerful military that can defeat any force, the Russian military has not made any significant progress in Ukraine.

According to the speaker of their parliament, Ukrainian forces caused the aircraft to crash in Russian airspace. Despite having sophisticated 4.5 and 5th generation aircraft and missile defense systems, Moscow has not been able to establish air superiority in the last two years.

According to a prominent Western think tank, the conflict in Ukraine has undermined Moscow’s trust in its conventional forces and made non-strategic nuclear weapons (NSNWs) more crucial to Moscow’s plans to deter and outmaneuver NATO in a future conflict.

All nuclear weapons with a maximum range of 5,500 km (3,400 miles) are considered NSNWs. These weapons range from tactical weapons intended for use in combat situations to longer-range strategic nuclear weapons that the US or Russia could use to attack one another’s home country.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) report released on Monday posed the question of whether Russia would feel more confident to launch an NSNW if it thought the West lacked the will to respond with nuclear weapons.

The disastrous Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, serves as a lesson for militaries around the globe about what not to do in a conventional armed conflict. These mistakes include inadequate training, poor supply line management, a lack of a center of gravity (CoG) in a war with multiple objectives, and a failure to anticipate the continuous supply of military aid to Ukraine from NATO member states led by the United States.

Recently, Moscow and Kyiv have also accused one another of significantly increasing their attacks on civilian areas during the previous two months. Nine people were injured by Russian strikes in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine, the governor of the area reported on Wednesday.

The city, which is close to Ukraine’s border with Russia, was the target of S-300 surface-to-air missile fire, according to regional governor Oleg Sinegubov.


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