Russia/Ukraine War: Ukrainian Military Shoots Down Plane Carrying Own Soldiers, 74 Perish
Ukrainian military has shot down a Russian plane carrying 65 Ukrainian soldiers earlier captured by Russian fighters killing a total of 75 military personnel.
The Ukrainian soldiers were onboard a Russian Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane enroute to an earlier scheduled prisoner-swap programme when the plane was downed by Ukrainian missile at village of Yablonovo in the Belgorod region of Russia, Reuters reports.
Russia Confirms Crash
The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed the unfortunate incident, lamenting that Ukraine deliberately killed its own soldiers in a bid to sabotage the regular internationally sanctioned prisoner exchange between the two warring countries.
Reuters quoted the Russian Defence ministry’s statement on the incident as saying:
“The Ukrainian leadership was well aware that, in accordance with established practice, Ukrainian servicemen would be transported by military transport aircraft to the Belgorod airfield today to be exchanged.”
“According to an earlier agreement, this event was to take place in the afternoon at the Kolotilovka checkpoint on the Russian-Ukrainian border.”
“By committing this terrorist act, the Ukrainian leadership has showed its true face. It disregarded the lives of its own citizens.”
Subtly confirming the incident, a Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman, Andriy Yusov told the media that a prisoner exchange had been planned for Wednesday, adding: “It’s not taking place at the moment.”
Russia military further confirmed that Ukrainian military deliberately targeted two military transport planes but that another plane carrying 80 Ukrainian captured soldiers “managed to evade” the rockets and returned to base.
Russia military also hinted that preliminary reports indicate that the rockets that downed the plane were either manufactured in the United States of America or Germany.