Accident Ilyushin Il-76M RF-86868,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 351126
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Date:Wednesday 24 January 2024
Type:Silhouette image of generic IL76 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Ilyushin Il-76M
Owner/operator:Russian Air Force
Registration: RF-86868
MSN: 0013428833
Year of manufacture:1981
Fatalities:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 74
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Yablonovo, Korochansky Raion, Belgorod Oblast -   Russia
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Chkalovsky Airport (CKL/UUMU)
Destination airport:Belgorod Airport (EGO/UUOB)
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
On the morning of 24 January 2024, an Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifter aircraft of the Russian Air Force crashed in a field in the Belgorod region at high speed following an in flight breakup and loss of flight control.

Later that day, Russian State News Agency TASS, citing a report from the Russian Ministry of Defence reported that an Il-76 carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, 6 flight crew and 3 marshals had crashed in the Belgorod region. The Governor of Belgorod Oblast further stated later that day that all those on board the aircraft were confirmed dead.
Russian sources further claimed that the Ukrainian Main Directorate of Intelligence had been notified of the flight.

Initially, Ukrainian sources such as Ukrainska Pravda reported that Ukrainian forces had shot down an Il-76 aircraft transporting S-300 missiles. However, this was later amended to not claim or deny involvement in the crash. According to a spokesman for the Ukrainian Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR), a prisoner exchange had been scheduled on the day of the crash, but stated that this did not occur. The reason for this was not explained further. Ukrainian sources have further offered other alternative scenarios while emphasising that the aircraft was a legitimate military target, stating that the aircraft may have been targeted for carrying senior Russian military officials, downed by friendly fire, or being used to transport weapons or ammunition. Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky stated that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) would also be conducting an investigation into the crash. However, the viability of this investigation was not described in further detail.

On the afternoon of 24 January 2024, British based British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) News reported that two official statements were made by the Ukrainian General Staff and the HUR that "amount to acknowledgement that Ukraine may have shot the plane down". Citing an anonymous source, French news site franceinfo reported that the aircraft had been downed by an American origin Patriot air defence system.

On 25 January 2024, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (SKR) released an official statement announcing the start of investigations into the crash. Alongside this statement, a several video releases were made showing a large debris trail. TASS further reported that metal fragments, possibly identified as belonging to an air defence missile had been found at the crash site, quoting:

"A vast area is being combed for any fragments of the airplane and metal structures. On the ground, elements confirming the external impact on the airplane have been found. They will be sent for examination"

Furthermore, the Office of the Governor and Government of Orenburg Oblast reported that the crew was made up of local residents of the 117th Military Transport Aviation Regiment based in Orenburg, listing the dead crew as:
- Captain Stanislav Bezzubkin
- First Officer Alexey Vysokin
- Flight Engineer Andrey Piluev
- Technician Sergey Zhitenev
- Radio Operator Igor Sablinsky

On 25 January 2024, a manifest claiming to list the described Ukrainian prisoners of war was published by Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Russian state broadcaster RT.

Later on 26 January 2024, SKR released another statement stating that Ukrainian servicemen had been positively identified as victims in the disaster, through verification through DNA examination as well as physical identification through "characteristic tattoos", including a Ukrainian tryzub. In addition, it was claimed that document evidence had been found confirming the identity of some of the passengers. Finally, the SKR claimed that through investigation of radar traces, air-defence missiles had been launched from the vicinity of the village of Liptsy, Kharkov Oblast, Ukraine - a location close to the Russo-Ukrainian border. Russian sources further state that the alleged shoot-down was carried out using an air defence system such as the MIM-104 Patriot, used by Ukraine. The Russian investigation committee additionally released footage of an Il-76 at Chkalovsky Airport being loaded. The agency did not specify when the video was recorded. However, a number of vehicles consistent with the markings of Russian prisoner transport trucks can be seen. On the same day, Russian state news agency TASS reported that the flight data and cockpit voice recorders had been recovered from the crash.

On 28 January 2024, Kyrylo Budanov, Head of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, has said that "neither Russia nor Ukraine has a complete answer as to what happened when the Il-76 aircraft crashed in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast".

On 30 January 2024, TASS reported that the data retrieved from the cockpit voice and flight data recorders confirmed that the aircraft had been destroyed as a result of an external impact.

"The data from the black boxes exclude all possible versions of the Ilyushin-76 crash and confirm that the plane was subjected to an external impact. In other words, it was shot down in the air. Everything is obvious," the source said.

On 1 February 2024, SKR released another press statement. The investigative committee stated that during the inspection of the area surrounding the crash site, the remains of two missiles with inscriptions and markings in the English language were discovered, complete with various serial numbers and manufacturing labels. It published a short video showing investigators inspecting some of the missile fragments on the ground in an unspecified location. One of the fragments included the what appears to have the word "ATRIOT" labeled in English. Furthermore, through the use of ion mobility spectrometry, traces of hexogen (RDX) and octogen (HMX) were identified.

"The fragments seized from the scene, according to their design features, geometric characteristics and available markings, are structural elements of the MIM-104 anti-aircraft guided missile of the Patriot complex of the United States, developed by Raytheon and Hughes corporations and manufactured by Raytheon," the committee said.

A separate video from SKR showed officials putting what they said were body fragments into bags for evidence.
It showed tattooed skin and said that, checked against DNA and identity records Russian authorities hold of Ukrainian prisoners of war, the investigation proved that those killed were Ukrainian soldiers. Russia had earlier stated that it had recovered Ukrainian identity documents and tattooed body parts from the crash site.

Ukraine did not immediately comment on the statement by the investigative committee and has neither confirmed nor denied that it downed the plane, but has challenged details of Moscow's account and called for an international investigation.

Following the retrieval of Patriot MIM-104A missile fragments, US State Department deputy principal spokesperson Vedant Patel was asked whether this would be investigated further by the United States. In response, Patel stated: "Is this the same level of credible evidence that makes Russia claim that they have Crimea, or that all the territory that they took from Ukraine is theirs?" When prompted that Patriot fragments were documented, Patel refrained from commenting further, redirecting the issue to Ukraine.

On 18 February 2024, Russian affiliated news channel Sputnik alleged that British advisors were responsible for the downing of the aircraft. According to the news source, an unnamed source stated:
"The attack on the Il-76 was carried out under pressure from British advisers without coordination with the air defense headquarters in Kiev and without additional double-checking of information on aircraft movements over the Belgorod region"


Official Russian Sources

Russian-affiliated sources

Ukrainian-affiliated sources

United States-affiliated sources

Other sources



CCCP-86868 at Paris-Le Bourget Airport (LBG) June 1983; photo: via W.Fischdick

Russian Investigative Committee


Revision history:

24-Jan-2024 09:35 harro Added
24-Jan-2024 09:38 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
24-Jan-2024 10:37 harro Updated [Total occupants, Other fatalities, Narrative]
24-Jan-2024 11:43 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Location, Category]
24-Jan-2024 14:47 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]
25-Jan-2024 07:12 harro Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Other fatalities, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
25-Jan-2024 09:01 harro Updated [Total fatalities, Other fatalities]
25-Jan-2024 09:29 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Narrative]
25-Jan-2024 09:30 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Source]
25-Jan-2024 11:03 Anon. Updated [Registration, Cn, Source]
29-Jan-2024 07:47 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Photo]
29-Jan-2024 12:04 Anon. Updated [Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
29-Jan-2024 12:08 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Narrative, Photo]
30-Jan-2024 12:10 Anon. Updated [Source, Narrative]
01-Feb-2024 19:36 Anon. Updated [Source, Narrative]
07-Feb-2024 13:06 Anon. Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
22-Feb-2024 09:22 Anon. Updated [Source, Narrative]

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