Russia exploits Il-76 crash to spark internal discontent in Ukraine — ISW
Russian propagandists are leveraging the Il-76 disaster to foster internal discontent in Ukraine, aiming to undermine Western support for continued aid
This was stated by the Institute for the Study of War.
The Institute for the Study of War has highlighted the use of the Il-76 disaster by Russian propagandists to create internal discord in Ukraine and erode Western support for aid.
Quoting Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, analysts noted his assertion that Ukraine intentionally downed the Il-76, carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war. Kartapolov called for an indefinite suspension of the prisoner exchange.
Simultaneously, Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, blamed the Ukrainian "internal political struggle" for the catastrophe. Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, at a UN Security Council meeting in New York, urgently called for UNSC intervention and accused Ukraine of terrorism.
The report stated, "Such Russian accusations are meant in part to sow discontent in Ukraine and galvanize distrust of the Ukrainian government, which is consistent with several other Russian information efforts aimed at weakening Ukraine domestically."
The exchange of prisoners is a sensitive topic in both countries, with emotional rhetoric surrounding references to prisoners of war.
Furthermore, Russian officials, without evidence, alleged that Ukraine used missile systems from the US or Germany to target the Il-76. This unverified claim seems designed to dissuade Western support for critical air defense systems for Ukraine.
- On January 24, a Russian Il-76 military transport plane crashed in the Belgorod region. Russia asserts it was transporting Ukrainian prisoners for exchange, an unconfirmed detail in Ukraine.
- A released Ukrainian prisoner refuted the Russian narrative about Ukrainian prisoners aboard the downed Il-76.