Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the downing of a Russian Ilyushin II-76 transport plane in the Belgorod region, with Russia claiming it was carrying Ukrainian armed forces prisoners of war (POWs), while Ukraine alleges the plane was transporting missiles. The Russian Defence Ministry accused Ukraine of committing a "terrorist act," asserting that the Ukrainian Armed Forces shot down the plane with an anti-aircraft missile system. Russia claimed the flight was on a route from Chkalovsky to Belgorod for the exchange of Ukrainian military personnel. However, Ukraine insisted the plane was carrying missiles for the S-300 air defense system.
As of now, there has been no official comment from Ukraine on Moscow's claims. Conflicting reports also exist about the number of people on board, with Russian media initially reporting 74 people, and later Russian state media suggesting 65 Ukrainian servicemen were on the plane for a planned prisoner swap. The situation remains complex, and independent verification of the claims has proven challenging. CNN reported being unable to independently verify either claim and reached out to Ukraine for comments on the allegations of shooting down the plane.
(With Agency Inputs)