Espreso. Global

IL-76 crash: Ukraine confirms Russian media published real lists of POWs to be exchanged

27 January, 2024 Saturday

Representatives of Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters met with relatives of prisoners of war after the crash of a Russian Il-76 aircraft in the Belgorod region

The Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War reports.

The meeting was attended by the head of the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Chief of Ukraine's Defence Intelligence Kyrylo Budanov, First Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Serhiy Andrushchenko, Secretary of the Coordination Headquarters Dmytro Usov, Deputy Head of the Main Operational Directorate of the Ukrainian General Staff Oleksiy Hromov and Head of the Joint Center of the Security Service of Ukraine Andriy Pasternak.

The main topic of discussion was Russia's statement about the presence of Ukrainian captives on board the Russian Il-76M military aircraft shot down in the Belgorod region on January 24.

The head of the Coordination Center, Kyrylo Budanov, emphasized that there is currently no reliable and comprehensive information about who might have been on board.

"We are collecting and carefully analyzing all available information on this matter from many sources. Currently, there is no information that would indicate that such a number of people could have been on that plane," said the Chief of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine. - "At the same time, the Russian propaganda version that the mentioned Il-76M could have transported 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war for exchange still raises many questions."

Serhiy Andrushchenko added that Russia's recent actions indicate that they are trying to hide the true causes of the plane crash from the world community.

"Russia immediately stated that it would not allow international experts to investigate the Il-76M crash. However, Ukraine will use all tools to find out the true causes of what happened and who or what was actually transported on that plane," he said.

According to Andrushchenko, more time is needed to collect information, emphasizing that the Security Service of Ukraine, in accordance with the decision of the Coordination Center, has taken all necessary measures to ensure the silence regime at the exchange site.

Dmytro Usov noted that the Russians responded to repeated requests with a long delay and with reference to one of the lists previously published on Russian propaganda resources.

The Coordination Center, for its part, confirms that 65 Ukrainian defenders from this list were indeed scheduled to be returned to Ukraine as part of the planned exchange on January 24.

At the same time, the interviewed relatives of the Ukrainian defenders on the list, having watched the video footage shown by Russian propagandists allegedly from the crash site, have not yet found any particular signs on the published body fragments that would indicate their relatives.

According to the representatives of the Coordination Center, the families of the prisoners of war will be informed about the fate of their family members as soon as the authorized bodies have clear and reliable information.

"The Coordination Headquarters insists on a comprehensive and competent international investigation of this incident and will do everything possible to ensure that the truth is revealed," the statement said.

Crash of the IL-76 military aircraft in Russia

On Wednesday, January 24, a Russian military transport aircraft IL-76 crashed in the Belgorod region.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that the ship allegedly carried Ukrainian prisoners of war who were being transported to the Belgorod region for exchange.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia had requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council because of the downing of the plane, which Moscow accused Ukraine of shooting down. France rejected the request.

The General Staff emphasized that the Defense Forces control the airspace and track missile launch points and logistics of their supply, especially with the use of military transport aircraft, and will continue to take measures to destroy delivery vehicles.

The Main Intelligence Directorate confirmed that a prisoner exchange was to take place on January 24. The DIU noted that it currently has no reliable and comprehensive information about who was on board the plane and in what quantity.

White House National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby said that the United States cannot confirm the presence of Ukrainian prisoners in the Russian IL-76.

On January 25, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would insist on an international investigation into the downing of the IL-76 military transport plane in Russia.

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