Il-76: revenge for downed A-50 over Azov sea?
Russia recognizes that the prisoner issue is very sensitive for Ukrainian society, so decided to hit this pain point
So, what do we know about the aircraft?
First of all, The Russians are guilty in any case. They started the war, and any tragedy is on their conscience.
Secondly, The General Staff actually confirmed that it was the Ukrainian Armed Forces that shot down the plane. This is quite natural. A military aircraft near the front line near a military airfield. An absolutely logical and legitimate target.
Thirdly, The GUR [Ukraine's Defense Intelligence Directorate] confirmed that the exchange was planned.
But what is also crucial, according to the Intelligence Directorate, is that usually, when the Russians transported prisoners by aircraft, they coordinated the route with Ukraine. That is, as part of the exchange preparation, they would inform us, 'In this plane, prisoners are flying, so do not shoot it down.' But this time, the Russians said nothing.
What does this mean? There are several options.
Firstly, the swap was being prepared without the involvement of aviation. The Russians concocted this story after the plane was shot down to cover up another disgrace involving their own aviation. This is evidenced, for example, by the list of prisoners hastily compiled by the Russians, which included the names of those who had already been exchanged. The Russians decided to turn their own shame into an information weapon.
“Secondly, the Russians were preparing a provocation and deliberately did not indicate the need to ensure the safety of the aircraft. In doing so, they either intentionally leaked the flight route through their agents to ensure that the Ukrainian Armed Forces would shoot it down, or through the work of their intelligence, they knew that the Ukrainian Armed Forces were preparing another "discount" action against Russian military aviation.”
This scenario is indicated by the speed and synchronicity with which the Russian side began working in the information field immediately after the plane's crash. Typically, it takes them much more time for such actions.
If this is a Russian provocation, then why did they need it? Most likely, it's a combined effect. They are trying to destabilize the situation within Ukraine, and their propaganda is actively at work. They see that the issue of prisoners is very sensitive for Ukrainian society, so they decided to strike this pain point. Also, considering their external information activity, it's possible that this action could be aimed at hindering the transfer of new air defense systems to Ukraine, the appearance of which is a significant cost for the Russian army. It could be a sort of revenge operation for the downed A-50 over the Sea of Azov.
What conclusion can be drawn? We will probably never know exactly what happened. War is filled with tragedies. To prevent such incidents, we must know that the Russians are to blame and definitely not do what Russian propaganda is trying to push us towards. That is, maintain unity and know who our enemy is — a cunning, dishonest, cruel, and mighty enemy.
About the author. Serhiy Fursa, investment expert, blogger.
The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by blog authors.