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Ukrainian cargo plane carrying military supplies destined for Bangladesh crashed in Greece

A Ukrainian cargo plane carrying military equipment destined for Bangladesh crashed in north-eastern Greece, all eight occupants were killed. The Antonov AN-12 took off from Serbia and carried 11 tons of military supplies for the Bangladesh army. As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kyiv announced on Sunday, the Ukrainian plane apparently crashed because of a failed engine.

The Antonov plane, which took off from Serbia, belonged to the Ukrainian airline Meridian, and the owner of the eleven-ton cargo was the Serbian company Valir, said Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic. The plane was on its way from Serbia to Bangladesh.

According to Kiev, all eight inmates who died are Ukrainian nationals. “The preliminary cause of the accident is the failure of one of the engines”said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the online service Facebook.

According to Greek air traffic control, the crew had asked for emergency landing permission at Kavala Airport, but had not been able to do so by then. Eyewitnesses reported that the plane caught fire before the crash. Because of several explosions, the fire brigade could not approach the crash site at first.

The machine took off from Nis Airport in southern Serbia at around 8.40 p.m., said Serbian Defense Minister Stefanovic. The delivery of “around eleven tons of military equipment” had been agreed with Bangladesh’s defense ministry and was carried out strictly in accordance with “international rules”. It was mainly mines. Stefanovic rejected media reports that the weapons were destined for Ukraine.

The Bangladesh Army confirmed that the cargo from the crashed plane was intended for them. “There were no weapons in the cargo and the cargo was insured.” A spokesman for the Greek fire brigade said that “no dangerous material” was found at the scene of the accident.

The Serbian defense minister went on to say that Soviet-made cargo planes owned by Russia, Belarus or Ukraine were mostly used to transport weapons. Since Russia and Belarus are under international sanctions because of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, only Ukrainian transport aircraft are currently being used and “requested worldwide”.

Apart from the fact that the machines are owned by Ukrainian companies, there is “no further connection between the cargo and Ukraine”. Any speculation to the contrary in the media is “completely wrong,” said Stefanovic. (AFP)

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