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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Russian Plane Crash

A Russian military transport plane crashed yesterday in Belgorod, Russia, near the border with Ukraine, according to a video shot from a cellphone (see here; sensitive content). Russian military officials claimed Ukraine shot down the plane, killing 74, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war en route to a planned prisoner swap. Ukrainian officials did not confirm the reports, and the number and identity of the victims were not yet independently verified.

Ukrainian officials did confirm a prisoner swap was scheduled for yesterday. Swaps have occurred regularly throughout the nearly two-year war, the most recent coming this month, which saw roughly 250 personnel returned for each side. Ukraine also acknowledged it targets such planes suspected of carrying missiles.

The accusations come amid a lull in the war's second winter, with the sides stockpiling ammunition and launching longer-range missile strikes. The conflict's front lines have not changed substantially in over a year; total military casualties have surpassed 500,000. See updates here

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