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Plane carrying Ukrainian POWs crashes, all on board killed, reports say

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A plane supposedly carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war who were part of a prisoner exchange has crashed, killing all on board.

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The crash happened in the Korochansky district of Belgorod, according to state news agency Tass and The Associated Press.

Russian officials said that there were 74 people on the flight, including 65 POWs. The Ukrainian government is trying to confirm that there were prisoners on board the plane, CNN reported.

Ukrainian officials said that there were no prisoners on board the IL-76 cargo plane. Instead, it had a payload of air defense missiles for the S-300 air defense system, CNN reported.

Neither claim has been verified by CNN, the AP or other media outlets.

Ukrainian officials said there was a planned prisoner exchange that has been delayed, CNN reported.

A second plane was carrying 80 additional POWs and was diverted after the crash.

It is not known what caused the plane to crash. A video purportedly showing the incident has been shared on social media, showing a plane falling from the sky, crashing and causing a massive fireball, the AP reported.

Russian Parliament’s defense committee member Andrey Kartapolov claimed the plane was shot down.

“Ukrainian leadership was well aware of the impending exchange and was informed of how the prisoners would be delivered. But the IL-76 plane was shot down by three missiles, either with anti-aircraft missile systems or Patriot, or with German-made IRIS,” Kartapolov said, according to CNN.

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