IL-76 crash – WHAT and HOW, WHO and WHY


On January 24, Russian Il-76 large military cargo aircraft crashed in the Belgorod region. The pilot managed to take the falling Il-76 away from the houses in the village of Yablonovo, the board fell in a field. IL-76 crashed at about 11.00 Moscow time in the Belgorod region. On board the fallen Il-76 were 65 captured servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, transported to the Belgorod region for exchange, 6 members of the aircraft crew and 3 escorts.

Russian Ministry of Defense (RMOD) confirmed the preliminary reports by the media that the Il-76 was transferring Ukrainian POWs for the agreed exchange. The exchange of 192 to 192 prisoners was supposed to take place that day on the border of the Belgorod region. There was the second IL-76 aircraft, which was carrying about 80 more prisoners of war. That aircraft immediately turned away to save lives of people on board. The Ukrainian leadership was beforehand informed and well aware of the upcoming exchange and was informed about how and where the prisoners would be delivered.

Russian officials stated that the Il-76 was shot down by two Patriot or IRIS-T missiles, which were launched from the Liptsy area of the Kharkiv region. The radar equipment of the Russian Aerospace Forces observed the launch of two anti-aircraft missiles. Judging by the range, the attack was likely launched by the US-made Patriot or French SAMP-T (initially suspected German IRIS-T). Footage from the area shows a smoky trail in the sky, similar to the one left after the explosion of an anti- aircraft missile. The aircraft was completely torn apart.

The Il-76 was shot down in the sky over the Belgorod region, because the aircraft was flying unprotected, without the support of Russian fighters and electronic warfare forces. It was an aircraft that performed regular humanitarian missions such as transporting prisoners of war. The AFU troops were informed about the scheduled flight of the aircraft. It is believed that Ukraine fired a Patriot PAC-2 missile from the Kharkiv region from a maximum distance of 130-140 km.

Russian FM Lavrov’s statements on the IL-76 crash: January 24, Russia has requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council over the crash of the IL-76 plane in the Belgorod region. France rejected Russia’s request to hold a UN Security Council meeting on the downed Il-76.

The list of 65 Ukrainian POWs, including 12 Azov (Nazi-group) fighters, was published late on January 24. There were at least 12 representatives of Azov battalion on board. The Azov fighters, as well as 53 other soldiers and officers were being taken for exchange.

Destroyed AD systems and foreign mercenaries in the region

January 24, the Russian military reported for the first time the destruction of a French SAMP-T anti-aircraft missile system in a special military operation zone. “Within 24 hours, ammunition depots of the 31st mechanized and 26th artillery brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and a French-made SAMP-T anti-aircraft missile system were destroyed,” says the military department’s report. The SAMP-T air defense system is designed for air defense of troops and mechanized formations located on the march, as well as providing air defense cover for stationary objects.  

Moreover, January 22, two German IRIS-T air defense systems were destroyed in the Kharkiv region. This confirms that the Ukrainian military deployed more anti-aircraft missile systems to the border in recent time.

During night January 16/17, Russian Forces made an air strike with Iskander missiles and S-300 rockets at the location of foreign mercenaries, in Kharkov, where mostly the French mercenaries were stationed there. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, 60 foreign fighters were killed and 20 were hospitalized. The identification of corpses is carried out exclusively by representatives of the SBU department in the Kharkov region. The wounded were speaking French. This incident was analyzed in my previous article of January 23.

Investigative Committee making fieldwork at the scene

A team of investigators and Emergencies Ministry employees are currently working at the scene, the governor of Russia’s borderline Belgorod Region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, has reported. He said that he had also departed for the Korocha district. The region’s operational services told that ambulance crews, firefighters and police officers have been sent to the site of the plane crash. A commission from the Russian Aerospace Forces is on its way to the region to investigate the causes of the crash.

Senator, military pilot and ex-commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces Viktor Bondarev said: “The fact that the plane was shot down is 100% clear, visible and understandable. Plus, the crew managed to report: there was an external influence,” Bondarev said in an interview.  The first bodies of those killed in the Il-76 plane crash in the Belgorod region were found within a radius of 1.5 – 2 kilometers from the crash site. Officials with three trucks arrived at the scene of the emergency and the crash site was cordoned off.

Video link:

Documents of Ukrainian prisoners of war killed in the crash have been recovered from the site of hit IL-76, the Russian Investigative Committee said. In addition, the launch site of the missile that hit the plane has been determined, the agency said. The anti-aircraft missile system was located in the village of Liptsy in the Kharkov region. However, it seems that in the West or in Ukraine nobody cares about the clear evidence of a terrorist attack by Kiev regime.

January 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the Investigative Committee to make details of the crash of Russian IL-76 military transport plane as much public as possible, the president said in St. Petersburg at a meeting with students. Putin blamed Kyiv for the crash of a military transport plane this week that killed dozens of people, mostly Ukrainian prisoners of war. Officials in Ukraine said late Friday that Moscow had not provided credible evidence that Ukrainian POWs were aboard the aircraft, according to media reports.


Ukrainian posture

The Ukrainian leadership knew very well that on January 24, according to common practice, Ukrainian military personnel would be transported by military transport aircraft to Belgorod airfield for exchange. According to the previously reached agreement, this event was scheduled to take place in the afternoon at the Kolotilovka checkpoint on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Immediately after the first reports claimed the incident in the Russian border regions, one of the largest Ukrainian media Ukrainska Pravda, claimed with the reference to General Staff of Ukraine, that the aircraft was shot down by the Ukrainian military. 

When it was revealed that the aircraft was transferring dozens of Ukrainian POWs, Ukrainian sources cited Kiev officials claiming that it was allegedly transferring S-300 missiles that are used for strikes in the Kharkiv region. This lie is revealed by the footage, which clearly shows that the aircraft did not explode in the air. If there were missiles on board, it would be destroyed before falling. After the lies could no longer be believed, Ukrainska Pravda edited its article, claiming that the Il-76 was not shot down but crashed by itself.


KyivPost fell also into same lie but it was too late; Ukraine has already claimed responsibility for killing dozens of its citizens to sabotage the prisoner exchange. All the preliminary evidence confirms a war crime of the Kiev regime against its own citizens. Moreover, it seems that the attack was planned in advance.

Moscow claimed the Ukrainians were being flown for a prisoner exchange and this operation was told beforehand to Ukrainian officials. Ukraine’s military intelligence (GUR) said it had not been told to ensure safe airspace, as on previous occasions. The GUR comments have been seen as a tacit acknowledgement that Ukraine shot the military transport plane down, although it stressed it had no reliable information about who was on board and warned the incident may have involved “planned and deliberate actions by Russia”.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have officially acknowledged their responsibility for downing a Russian IL-76 transport aircraft near Belgorod. According to the General Staff, the Russians utilize the Il-76 for transporting ammunition and missiles to Belgorod, intending to target Kharkov and the surrounding region. “In view of this, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will continue to take measures to destroy the means of delivery, control the airspace to destroy the terrorist threat, including in the Belgorod-Kharkiv direction,” the statement said. The General Staff does not mention the alleged deaths of Ukrainian POW’s reported by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Ukraine’s military command says it regards Russian military aircraft approaching Belgorod as legitimate targets, but stopped short of acknowledging it fired at a Russian transport plane that crashed in the Belgorod region of Russia. In a carefully worded statement, the General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said recent attacks on the city of Kharkiv, which lies just 30 kilometers from Russia, are being facilitated by Russian cargo planes bringing weapons close to the border. But the Ukrainian General Staff statement stopped short of addressing Russian claims the crashed plane was carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war ahead of an exchange. President Zelensky has publicly demanded an international investigation on the matter.

Russian statements

Kremlin’s official spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on Zelensky’s remarks and said that Kyiv’s crimes clearly need to be sorted out during an international investigation. Peskov said that Ukraine’s attack on the Russian military transport aircraft was a horrendous act. All those people could have been taken home the next day but Ukraine killed them, he said.

Vladimir Rogov, Chairman of the Coordination Council for the Integration of New Regions, believes that Ukraine’s attack on the Russian transport aircraft was conducted deliberately and purposefully. By shooting down the Il-76, the Ukrainian side pursued no less than three goals:

  • to intimidate other Ukrainian fighters who want to surrender,
  • to disrupt all negotiations on the exchange of prisoners of war,
  • to demonstrate an ability to its Western supervisors to eliminate the Russians further.

According to Rogov, the number of Ukrainian soldiers who want to surrender to Russia grows, and the political regime in Kyiv starts panicking.

Rodion Miroshnik, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry for Crimes of Ukraine, noted that Kyiv demonstrated complete disregard for human life by its act. Ukraine, having violated agreements, killed Russian pilots, accompanying military personnel and “wasted” the lives of its own citizens, the official said. The shootdown of the Il-76 calls into question a possibility to conclude “any agreements in any formats,” he added.

Vyacheslav Volodin, Russian Parliament Speaker, said that the Russian State Duma would prepare an appeal to US Congress and the German Bundestag in connection with the crash of the military airplane. According to him, it is time for US and German MPs to see what Ukraine is about. Volodin pointed out that it was US President Joe Biden, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, along with other Western politicians, that “raised” the Kyiv government. Therefore, they carry responsibility for the actions of the Ukrainian regime.

Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, said that the crash of the Il-76 highlighted “the internal political struggle between neo-Nazi elites in Kyiv.” Medvedev believes that Ukraine will continue attacking its own citizens and military personnel in the future as well. For Kyiv, there are no limits when it comes to power, Medvedev said.

Russian MP Dmitry Melik, a Member of the Committee on International Affairs, said that it was time to recognize Ukraine a terrorist state. In his opinion, Ukraine deserves this status because it annihilates its compatriots for political purposes.

The UNITED NATIONS, January 26. If the use of US or German surface-to-air missile systems for the deadly attack on Russia’s Il-76 plane above the Belgorod Region is confirmed, Western countries will become complicit in the crime committed by the Kiev government, Russian First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky said.

January 26. The Kremlin is dissatisfied with the outcome of the UN Security Council’s meeting on the downing of Russia’s Ilyushin-76 airplane. “To date there has been no strong condemnation from the Western countries of this horrifying terrorist act, the horrifying destruction of the plane that was transporting [people],” Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media. For us, first of all, our pilots and escorts were there. Russians died. But a very large number of Ukrainian prisoners of war also died.

Speculations and assessments of WHY

When assessing the causes of this incident, there are several possibilities, including that it was an attempt to sabotage the POW swap or a way of provoking Moscow, possibly accusing it of a false flag, all in order to justify the termination of potential peace talks

It is also possible that it was simply a terrible mistake made by NATO-trained Ukrainian personnel or even Western instructors themselves. Particularly interesting point is that Kiev regime first admitted the shootdown but a bit later, having realized the death of over 60 Ukrainian POWs, denied it.

The specifics of this incident therefore lead to suspicion that these POW troops were deliberately targeted by those American-advised (or French) Ukrainian air defense controllers, who were operating the Patriot air defense systems (or French SAMP-T) on Wednesday January 24, for the reasons that appears to be opening slowly.

On the other hand, the incident might be a part of the rapidly escalating internal power struggle in Kiev, particularly between the regime and the military. Their disagreements are more serious than ever as the president Volodymyr Zelensky and his top general Valery Zaluzhny have been at each other’s throats for months, especially in the aftermath of the failed summer/fall counteroffensive.

Zaluzhny’s replacement with Budanov.

As the backdrop to what happened, have been strong speculations that President Zelensky might oust General Zaluzhny.

Stephen Bryen, a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy and Yorktown Institute, published the article on his Substack. According to him, the Ukrainian leader Zelensky wants to replace the Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny with military intelligence head Budanov and he’s planning to do so by blaming Zaluzhny for recent battlefield losses near Avdeevka. Zaluzhny is very respected Commander in the armed forces and civil society and, no doubt, is Zelensky’s top rival in Ukraine.

Any such a move is fraught with the very real risk of blowback due to how popular Zaluzhny is among the armed forces and civil society but both categories of his supporters might only organize mild resistance, if he’s blamed for this incident. It’s not implausible that Zelensky will either directly blame him or do so via media surrogates, since he himself wants to eschew responsibility and he definitely doesn’t want anyone pointing fingers at America.

All things considered, blaming Zaluzhny, is the most politically convenient option at Zelensky and his US patron’s disposal. It could shift the blame from them to him and facilitate Zaluzhny’s replacement with Budanov without much resistance from the armed forces or civil society.

It will certainly depend on the view held by the United States, although not before the political crisis in Washington DC is resolved. It’s still not entirely clear, who the US would side with. Zelensky has been a good puppet so far. However, the image of a “hero” that they’ve been trying to build for him is fading away. In that regard, and depending on who takes more power in Washington DC, Zaluzhny soon might be seen as a more adequate replacement for Zelensky. In order to make sure that doesn’t happen, Zelensky could simply try to remove Zaluzhny and the Il-76MD incident might be the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

American political analyst Andrew Korybko already made a similar hypothesis but went a step further by suggesting that the Head of GUR Kyrylo Budanov might replace Valery Zaluzhny. According to his assessment, the incident could be used to shift blame from Zelensky and his entourage to the Kiev regime’s top general and “facilitate his replacement with the much more politically reliable Budanov without much resistance from the armed forces or civil society”.

This possibility certainly shouldn’t be excluded, particularly Kyiv regime knew Ukrainian POWs were on board the Russian transport aircraft. This further leads to suspicion that the POWs were deliberately targeted. Korybko suggests that the primary reason could be to sabotage any potential peace talks led by Zaluzhny.

Some other views

A new view emerged in Andriy Yusov’s interview: Ukrainians concluded that it was worth killing their POWs, if some RUS army officials were also killed. This means that Kiev regime actually want to kill Russian officials and accept killing own soldiers as collateral damage!

The IL-76 was shot down because senior Russian officials were supposed to be onboard.

More “heavy proofs” are emerging almost daily bases.

Closing words

Certain facts about this event have become abundantly clear:

  • Russian aircraft IL-76 was shot down by the AD missile, either American Patriot or French SAMP-T from Ukraine’s territory, firing unit was a mobile Ukrainian air defense unit staffed by Ukrainian and foreign servicemen
  • NATO-engagement is sure and confirmed: NATO-missiles and NATO AD-experts have been used
  • there were onboard: 65 Ukrainian POWs for agreed swap, 6 crew members and 3 escorts; all dead
  • “Black boxes” of the IL-76 and plenty of physical “proofs” have been found on the place of the incident
  • Russian Investigative Committee will publish the report of this shot-down, Putin has asked a detailed public information

Consequences of this shot down will be remarkable, both in the current war but especially in the relations of great powers.

Finally, look at this Tweet:

When the same narrative suddenly appears in country after country at the same time, in total lockstep, you can be certain there’s a pre-planned and centrally coordinated globalist agenda afoot. This time the pre-planned and centrally coordinated globalist agenda appears to be “all-out war” with Russia (aka WW3).

Your real enemies, as always, are the unelected globalist psychopaths who deliberately manufacture these global crises and the puppets they have installed into key positions of power within the governments, NGOs and mainstream media outlets of the world, to push their pre-planned and centrally coordinated globalist agendas.

Sometimes Voice of Common Sense emerges

The death of ideology | John Mearsheimer [Full Interview] , January 25, 2024