Espreso. Global

IL-76 crash is Russian war crime regardless of probe results — Doctor of Law Babin

25 January, 2024 Thursday

Even if the IL-76 was not carrying any prisoners, its crash is a result of Russia's terrorist activities. This is the Russians' intention to destabilise the situation in Ukrainian society for further similar provocations

This opinion was expressed by Borys Babin, Doctor of Law, Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (2017-2018), on the Espreso TV channel.

"This is a terrorist activity. If these people were alive the morning of the previous day, there is little chance of seeing them alive. If they were not on board, this is a repressed crime, in fact, the shooting of hostages, announced publicly," he said.

There are three options for who could have been on board the plane before the exchange of prisoners, said the doctor of law: 

"If there were no prisoners on the plane, but the Russian Federation announced that they had been killed, this is actually a statement that Russia will kill prisoners for the downing of the aircraft. This is an international crime and an attempt to turn prisoners of war into hostages," he said.

If there were prisoners, the main fault of the aggressor is that they violated the Geneva Convention, which contains a clear prohibition to hold prisoners in the combat zone where there is a risk of shelling, Babin noted.

"The Russian Federation has repeatedly claimed that Belgorod is being shelled and that Belgorod airport is closed for civilian flights. This means that the aggressor was aware of the danger. Therefore, any consequences of the destruction of IL-76 are borne by the aggressor state," he said.

The third possible option, when, in addition to prisoners or under the guise of prisoners, Russia could have been transporting military cargo, is treachery, Babin added.

"All three hypothetical options, and there can be no other, indicate that the Russian Federation has committed war crimes in violation of the Geneva Convention. The Russians themselves understand this, so their statements and 'show' with the State Duma have no legal dimension. In their view, this is a political dimension of pressure on Ukraine's partners," he said.

In this way, Russia is trying to destabilise the situation in Ukraine and Ukrainian society, Babin said.

"Any sharp reaction of Ukrainians to the statements of the Russian Federation will push the Russians to new similar provocations. In the future, we will see the same provocations by the aggressor," he said.

Ukraine demands an international investigation. But it is already clear that the facts, unfortunately, will not be accurately established.

"More than a day has passed since the aggressor's statement, and there is no reliable audio or video recording of the situation, no access of international representatives to the scene. The Russian Ministry of Defence has taken the black boxes. In fact, over the past day, Russia has done everything to undermine any credibility of further statements and actions in this situation," Babin summed up.

  • On January 25, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would insist on an international investigation into the downing of the IL-76 military transport aircraft in Russia.
  • Aviation expert Kostyantyn Kryvolap believes that Russia tried to shoot down Ukrainian drones and shot down their IL-76 in panic 
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