Russia does not return POWs who were on list on day of IL-76 crash
During the exchange on January 31, Ukrainian prisoners of war, who were planned to be returned on January 24, were released from Russian captivity, except for 65 people whom the Russian side called dead
Andriy Yusov, spokesman of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, said this in a comment to Ukrinform.
"Actually, today the exchange that was supposed to take place on January 24 continued. All the people who were supposed to be returned then, except for the list of 65 people whom the Russian side called dead," he said.
Yusov added that the Ukrainian side has no evidence that 65 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the plane crash. This is only evidenced by the statements of the Russian side.
In addition, at Ukraine's request, Russia is not returning the alleged bodies of dead Ukrainian prisoners of war.
During the 50th prisoner exchange, which took place on January 31, 207 Ukrainian defenders were returned from Russian captivity, including 95 representatives of the Armed Forces, 56 servicemen of the National Guard, 26 border guards, 29 soldiers from Territorial Defense Forces and one representative of the National Police.
Crash of the IL-76 military transport aircraft in Russia
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.