No Ukrainian PoWs on crashed IL-76 in Russia, their fate unknown - Ukrainian official
Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Secretary, Oleksiy Danilov, said that the Russian Il-76 plane did crash in the Belgorod region, but there were no Ukrainian prisoners of war on board
He said this in an interview with Babel.
"I can tell you for sure whether our people were there: no. I say this based on the experience we had after Tehran and on what happened next. If this had really happened, the amount of biological material, what is called, let's say, the dead, would have been in significant numbers," Danilov said.
According to him, the Russians have crafted a narrative: "So let's wait, we just have to wait. If this was happening, believe me, Lavrov would be shouting about it at the UN... And they would have shown it all."
In addition, Danilov emphasized that Ukraine does not have enough information about whether the prisoners of war who were supposed to be exchanged that day are still alive.
What is known about the crash of the Russian military transport aircraft IL-76
On 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 Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate confirmed that a prisoner exchange was to take place on January 24. The intelligence noted that it currently does not have 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 of war in the Russian Il-76.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he will insist on an international investigation into the downing of the IL-76 military transport aircraft in Russia.
On January 30, Ukrainian intelligence said that Russia refuses to hand over the bodies of prisoners who allegedly died in the IL-76.
On January 31, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said the IL-76 military transport aircraft was shot down by the US Patriot system and promised to allow international experts to investigate.