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Russia Reports No Survivors From Plane Crash It Says Had 65 Ukrainian POWs Aboard TIME

Russia Warplane Crash

A Russian plane allegedly carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war crashed on Wednesday near the Russia-Ukraine border, killing everyone on board, Russian state media RIA Novosti reported, citing Russia’s Defense Ministry. 

The Russian News Agency TASS reported, citing a statement from Russia’s Defense Ministry, that an Il-76 of the Russian Aerospace Forces, carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were being transported for exchange, along with six crew members and three escorts, crashed around 11 a.m. local time.

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Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the region where the crash reportedly occurred, posted on Telegram that a transport plane crashed in a field near a populated area and that everyone on board died.

A Russia Foreign Ministry official Rodion Miroshnik accused Ukraine of shooting down the plane in posts on his Telegram account. The claims were then shared via TASS’ Telegram account, also. The details could not be independently verified by TIME, which reached out to Russia’s foreign and defense ministries and Ukraine’s defense ministry for comment.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense tells TIME in an email that they do not have information to confirm the incident.

Ukraine’s Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War posted in a statement on Telegram that it was collecting and analyzing information and urged caution in reports. “We emphasize that the enemy is actively conducting information special operations against Ukraine aimed at destabilizing Ukrainian society,” the agency said.

Unverified video circulating on social media from Russian news agency RT and international outlets recorded a plane plummeting into a field and exploding into a fireball.

Mallory Moench

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