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Ukrainian plane loaded with mines crashes in Greece — Analysis

When the cargo plane crashed it was carrying Serbian-made weapons to Bangladesh. All aboard were killed.

Serbian authorities confirmed that a Ukrainian cargo plane carrying 11.5 tonnes of Serbian-made ammunition crashed at Kavala, northern Greece on Sunday. It was en route from Ukraine to Bangladesh.

According to witnesses, the plane was exploding in a field near Kiev at midnight. It was operated by Ukrainian airline Meridian.

Around 8:40 pm local time, the plane lifted off from Nis Airport in Serbia. Greek media confirmed that aviation authorities had lost the aircraft’s signal shortly after the pilot requested to make an emergency landing at Kavala Airport, citing an engine problem. 

Meridian General Director Denys Bogdanovych dismissed speculation that the weapons had been destined for either side of the conflict in Ukraine, telling Reuters that “This isn’t related to Russia or Ukraine..” The cargo was owned by Serbian arms trader Valir, according to Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic. Officials from Serbia and the airline confirmed that all of the eight crew members were killed in the crash. 

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Jordanian sources denied earlier reports that the plane was headed to that country. Instead, they explained that it was only there to fuel up. Stefanovic stated that the plane also had plans to stop at Riyadh or Ahmedabad, before arriving in Dhaka.

People living within 2km (1 mile) of the wreckage site were instructed to remain inside because they could be exposed to potentially dangerous cargo. Although search and rescue teams were dispatched to the scene, emergency vehicles weren’t allowed to immediately approach the wreck. 

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