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The United Nations Security Council will hold a meeting to talk about the recent crash of a Russian military plane near the border of Ukraine.
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The United Nations Security Council will hold a meeting to talk about the recent crash of a Russian military plane near the border of Ukraine.

An urgent gathering is scheduled for Thursday by the U.N. Security Council in response to a Russian military aircraft crashing near the border between Russia and Ukraine. Officials from both countries are demanding an inquiry into the incident.

The Belgorod region plane crash on Wednesday was blamed on Ukraine by Russia. According to Russia, the plane held 74 individuals, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were supposed to be exchanged.

Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia, has accused Ukraine of conducting a “terrorist attack” while he was in New York for meetings at the United Nations.

Lavrov, speaking to reporters, stated that the Ukrainian POWs were moved to the Belgorod region for the purpose of carrying out a previously agreed upon swap between Moscow and Kyiv. However, instead of honoring the agreement, the Ukrainian side fired an air defense missile from the Kharkiv region, causing a fatal strike on the airplane.

A church service is held for those killed in the Russian Il-76 military transport plane crash in the Belgorod region, in the village of Yablonovo near the crash site, on Jan. 24, 2024.

On January 24, 2024, a church ceremony was conducted in the village of Yablonovo, near the crash site of the Russian Il-76 military transport plane in the Belgorod region, to honor those who lost their lives.

The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, stated that his administration is pushing for a global inquiry.

In his evening speech on Wednesday, Zelenskyy stated that all information must be confirmed. He acknowledged the challenges of gathering details since the plane crashed in Russian territory, which is outside of their jurisdiction.

Zelenskyy claimed that Russia was manipulating the lives of Ukrainian prisoners of war, the emotions of their family members, and the sentiments of society.

Ukraine’s armed forces did not explicitly mention the plane accident, but stated that Russia had conducted strikes associated with Russian military planes landing in Belgorod. They also declared their intention to target Russian military aircraft suspected of transporting missiles for potential future attacks.

This photograph taken on Jan. 23, 2024 shows a missile launched from Russia's Belgorod region flying towards Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On January 23, 2024, a picture was captured of a missile being fired from the Belgorod region in Russia, headed towards Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

According to Ukraine’s air force, Russia launched an attack overnight that consisted of four missiles launched from the Belgorod region. The Ukrainian air force also reported that they were able to shoot down 11 out of the 14 drones sent by Russia.

A video circulating on social media captured the moment a plane crashed and burst into flames upon impact in the snowy and rural western Belgorod region of Russia.

Kharkiv shares a border with Belgorod, a region belonging to Russia. In the past two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the two parties have conducted multiple exchanges of prisoners.

Margaret Besheer, VOA’s correspondent to the United Nations, provided input for this report. Additional information was obtained from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters.