There were no Ukrainian prisoners of war on board the Russian Il-76 military plane that crashed on January 24 in the Belgorod region of Russia, said Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.
– Were our prisoners there? I can certainly answer no. (…) If they were, the amount of biological material, i.e. (the remains of) the dead, would be significant, Danilov said during a Friday conversation with the Ukrainian website Babel.
The politician concluded that if there were Ukrainians on the plane, the Russians would immediately use it for their propaganda purposes.
– There was nothing like that there, they had the whole story prepared. So let’s wait. If there was such a thing, Lavrov would be shouting about it UN and they would show everything. However, they have nothing to show, because if this was really the case, we would have a completely different picture, said Danilov.
Shooting down of a Russian military Il-76 in the Belgorod region
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported, citing American officials, that the Il-76 was shot down by a Patriot missile provided by “one of the European allies.” USA.
Publicly, U.S. officials have not said how the plane was shot down, but they anonymously told the newspaper that “reports of the use of a Patriot missile were true.”
January 24 in the bordering area Ukraine A Russian Il-76 military plane crashed in the Russian Belgorod Oblast. Moscow said the plane carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war for exchange was shot down by Ukrainians.
The authorities in Kiev respond that the Il-76 is a machine that was used to transport weapons and soldiers. They also emphasize that Russia did not provide the Ukrainian side with a list of victims, which may undermine the version that prisoners were transported by air. Ukraine is also demanding the establishment of an international commission to investigate the disaster, which Moscow has not yet agreed to.
Main photo source: RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE COMMITEE/PAP/EPA