Ukrainian media, citing sources in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, hastened to report that the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian missile, but later deleted the publication.
As it turned out, the Russian Aerospace Forces plane was transporting 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war for exchange with the Ukrainian side. All of them died including 6 crew members.
UPD: However, later a radio interception of the Belgorod Flight Control Center was published with the duty officer of the fire rescue unit No. 25 of the village of Bekhteevka, Korochansky district, Belgorod region. The Flight Control Center dispatcher requests the fire department operator on duty to immediately deploy 3 fire crews to extinguish the fire. In response to the operator’s question about what exactly was burning, the duty officer replied that there were rockets with kerosene and hydrazine on board the plane.
Independent journalists also pointed out a number of inconsistencies in Russian media reports. So, in particular, among the dead is a Ukrainian serviceman who was exchanged earlier; the plane’s movement vector indicates a flight from the Belgorod airfield, and not vice versa, as it should have been if the plane was transporting prisoners of war for exchange with the Ukrainian side.
Military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who were previously exchanged with the Russian side indicate that the prisoners of war were accompanied by at least 20 people. At the same time, according to Russian media, 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war and 6 crew members died.
All this raises a number of questions about the Russian side’s assurance that the military aircraft was transporting Ukrainian prisoners of war, and not missiles.