Russia said Tuesday that a military cargo plane with 15 people on board had crashed in Russia's Ivanovo region while taking off from an airfield northeast of Moscow for a scheduled flight.

“An Il-76 military transport aviation plane crashed in the Ivanovo region while taking off to perform a scheduled flight. On board were eight crew members and seven passengers,” the defense ministry said in a statement.

Eyewitnesses have circulated videos on social media showing a plane with a burning right outboard [number 4] engine. En route to the Severny airfield near Ivanovo, the aircraft crashed in a wooded area close to Podtalitsy village in the Moscow region.

Unian reports that fourteen bodies have been discovered in the wreckage.

As reported by the VCHGA-OPGU Telegram channel's sources, Severny Airport in the Ivanovo region is one of the bases for deploying AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) aircraft, including the A-50.

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Therefore, the passengers of the IL-76 shot down today in the Ivanovo region could have been operators - officers of the AEW&C complex.

In the most recent occurrence involving Russian cargo planes, a Russian IL-76 plane fell from the sky in Russia’s western Belgorod region, crashing into the ground in a giant fireball and likely killing everyone on board on January 24. 

The ones responsible for downing the plane are still up for debate. Still, a Ukrainian media outlet initially reported that the Ukrainian military had claimed responsibility and the plane had been carrying S-300 anti-aircraft missiles.

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Sources told Kyiv Post that various brands of gasoline and diesel fuel with a total volume of 12.5 thousand cubic meters were stored there.

However, this claim was later retracted.

Russia’s defense ministry said the aircraft was carrying 65 Ukrainian soldiers captured earlier in its full-scale invasion, as well as six crew and three escorts.

It also claimed Ukrainian forces stationed in the Kharkiv border region had fired two missiles at the transport aircraft, describing it as a “terrorist act.”

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