The IL-76 that crashed in Belgorod was carrying missiles for the S-300 air defense system, the official Ukrainian information service says, quoting a source in the Ukrainian armed forces.
That assertion is at odds with Russian claims that 65 Ukrainian servicemen were on board, ahead of a prisoner exchange – first reported on Russian news agencies, and then repeated by the head of the Russian Parliament’s defense committee, Andrey Kartapolov.
Kartapolov said there was a second military plane, also an IL-76, carrying an additional 80 prisoners of war, which was diverted.
Kartapolov also said the “The 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.”
CNN cannot verify these claims. We have reached out to multiple sources in Ukraine’s government about Russia’s allegations that Ukraine was responsible for the downing of the plane but have not yet received any comment.