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Ukrainian cargo plane crashes in northern Greece carrying 'dangerous cargo' for Bangladesh

The wreckage of an Antonov An-12 aircraft that crashed near Antiphilippi, Kavala, is seen in northern Greece on Sunday. The cargo plane crashed Saturday night with eight crew members onboard near Kavala, while en route from Serbia to Bangladesh through Jordan. Photo by Achilleas Chiras/EPA-EFE
The wreckage of an Antonov An-12 aircraft that crashed near Antiphilippi, Kavala, is seen in northern Greece on Sunday. The cargo plane crashed Saturday night with eight crew members onboard near Kavala, while en route from Serbia to Bangladesh through Jordan. Photo by Achilleas Chiras/EPA-EFE

July 17 (UPI) -- A Ukrainian cargo plane crashed in northern Greece late Saturday while carrying "dangerous cargo" from Serbia bound for Bangladesh. Eight people on board were killed.

The Antonov AN-12 plane took off from an airport in Niš and was transporting Serbian-made defense products to the Bangladesh Defense Ministry, the customer, when it crashed near Eleftheroupoli in the Kavala region of Greece, Serbian Defense Minister Nebojša Stefanović said in a statement.

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Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesman for Ukraine's Foreign Ministry, said in a statement that the plane was carrying "dangerous cargo" from Serbia to Bangladesh through Jordan before it crashed in Greece.

"The crew consisted of eight citizens of Ukraine. The preliminary cause of the accident was the failure of one of the engines," Nikolenko said.

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Ukrainian officials have arrived in Greece and are working with local rescuers and law enforcement officers, Nikolenko said.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it was "profoundly saddened" by the news that the plane had crashed.

"We express our sincere condolences to the families of the eight Ukrainian crew members who tragically lost their lives in the plane crash," the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

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The crash in Greece came around the eighth anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and the discovery of the wreckage.

The plane disappeared on March 8, 2014, and resulted in the deaths of 298 passengers and crew members as Russia forcibly took over the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. Authorities began discovering scraps of the plane in late July 2015.

In March, just weeks after the war in Ukraine broke out, Australia and the Netherlands announced that they started legal proceedings against Russia through the International Civil Aviation Organization in connection with the shooting down of that plane.

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"Ukraine remains steadfast in its commitment to pursue truth, justice and accountability for the downing of Flight MH17," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

"We have full confidence in the independent, open and impartial criminal proceedings against the alleged perpetrators in the Dutch National Prosecution and the state responsibility proceedings in the International Civil Aviation Organization."

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