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Russia Says Ukraine Shot Down Military Transport Plane From Kharkiv Region Village

The crash site of the Il-76 military plane in Russia's Belgorod region. Russian Investigative Committee

Russian law enforcement officials said Friday that the Il-76 military transport plane that crashed this week was shot down by a Ukrainian missile fired from a village in the northeastern Kharkiv region. 

The announcement comes a day after Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, opened a terrorism investigation into the crash. 

Moscow has accused Kyiv of shooting down the aircraft, which it says was carrying 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers who were en route to a scheduled prisoner exchange.

While Ukraine has not denied outright that it downed the plane, officials in Kyiv have questioned key aspects of Russia's narrative, such as whether Ukrainian servicemen were killed.

Radar control systems helped investigators locate an anti-aircraft missile system — which was said to have shot down the Il-76 — in the Kharkiv region village of Lyptsi, Russia's Investigative Committee said in a statement.

It was not immediately possible to verify the claim.

Law enforcement officials did not say what type of missile they believed shot down the aircraft.

Lyptsi is located around 10 kilometers south of the border with Russia and about 100 kilometers from the village of Yablonovo, where the Il-76 was filmed crashing into the ground Wednesday.

Video shared by Russia’s Investigative Committee on Friday showed blurred images of what were said to be human remains, followed by photographs of documents in Ukrainian. 

“A skull, a man’s face, a trident,” the voice behind the camera says, referring to the coat of arms of Ukraine and other tattoos depicted on one of the recovered bodies.

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