Ukrainian Cargo Plane Carrying Weapons Crashes, Killing 8 Crew Members
Debris of an Antonov-12 cargo plane that crashed near Antifilippoi, Kavala, northern Greece on July 17, 2022.
Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Ukrainian cargo plane traveling from Serbia to Jordan crashed in Greece on Sunday, killing all eight crew members on board.

According to preliminary reports, the crash followed a request by the pilot for an emergency landing due to engine failure.

Serbian officials stated that the plane was transporting more than 25,000 pounds of military supplies, including mortar and training shells made in Serbia and bound for Bangladesh.

The cargo plane was reportedly a Soviet-built An-12 turboprop aircraft that went down approximately 25 miles away from the nearest airport.

A Reuters report stated that witnesses saw the aircraft coming down in flames before exploding on impact around midnight local time.

Ukraine’s Meridian Airline operated the aircraft and shared that all eight crew members had been confirmed dead in the crash. Reuters reported that six bodies had already been recovered from the crash site.

Due to the odor from the wreckage and the weapons it carried, locals were told to remain inside, keep their windows shut, and wear a mask as a precaution. Explosive experts were reportedly sent to the scene to rule out any concerns of foul play.

According to Radio Free Europe, a large gathering of emergency vehicles were deployed to the crash site, including fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars.

A series of explosions were also reported for about two hours following the crash. The mortars and shells on board the aircraft led to reporters and others in the area being pushed back to a radius of 400 meters from the crash site.

The cargo was unrelated to Ukraine’s military defense against Russia’s invasion. The invasion, launched on February 24, has led to sanctions against Russia by numerous nations, including strong sanctions from the U.S.

The U.S. has also continued sending billions of dollars to support Ukraine’s defense effort. Earlier in the month, the U.S. and World Bank combined to send another $1.7 billion in assistance to the Ukrainian government to support health care workers in the war-torn nation.

On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that the funds were being provided to help stop Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s “brutal war of aggression.”

The Daily Wire previously reported that USAID administrator Samantha Power told the AP that while Putin’s “assault on Ukraine’s public services continues, the United States is rushing in with financial support to help the government keep the lights on, provide essential services to innocent citizens and pay the health care workers who are providing lifesaving support on the frontlines.”

USAID has now sent about $4 billion to Ukraine since the February invasion from Russia began. In addition, the U.S. government has sent more than $7 billion total since the war started, according to the report.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also been an important point of discussion in President Joe Biden’s Middle East tour, which included stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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