Espreso. Global

Scenarios can be various: Ukrainian intelligence about IL-76 crash

25 January, 2024 Thursday

Andriy Yusov, representative of Ukraine's Defence Intelligence, says that it sounds very strange that Russia is using the airport in Belgorod for so-called humanitarian purposes while the skies there are closed to civil aviation

He said this on Espreso TV.

"It's too early to draw conclusions, but the scenarios could have been various. In general, when we talk about Belgorod, the use of this airport for the so-called humanitarian purposes sounds very strange. I have to remind that the sky is closed to civil aviation there. As for what is happening there, it is close to the front line, so this territory is actually in a war zone. And the Belgorod region, along with Moscow and Crimea, is in the top in terms of saturation with Russian air defense and missile defense systems, as well as man-portable air defense systems, which are actively used there," Andriy Yusov noted.

According to him, Russian forces have already shot down their planes. Also that day, both Ukraine and Russia used their drones. Ukrainian reconnaissance UAVs were flying over Belgorod, while Russians were launching 'kamikaze' drones. According to Russian sources, there is information about Russian air defense against allegedly Ukrainian drones, which they themselves have reported.

"Based on Russian information about the number of people on board the IL-76, the plane was 1/3 full. What else was on board? Given that the plane had already carried missiles, in particular for the S-300 and S-400, it could well have had such cargo. As for the information about the number of guards on board, it does not stand up to any criticism. It would be very naive of us to imagine that the Moscow forces put only three guards on board, where there are 65 Ukrainian defenders. Therefore, all of this requires the fullest possible access, and this can only be done in the format of an international investigation," the intelligence representative emphasized.

Yusov added that Ukraine and Russia will not trust each other's conclusions now, so a third party should be involved. Ukraine is ready to be as open as possible to such an investigation. Unfortunately, there is no such readiness on the part of the aggressor state.

Crash of the IL-76 military aircraft in Russia

On Wednesday, 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 General Staff emphasized that the Defense Forces control the airspace and track missile launch points and logistics of their supply, especially with the use of military transport aircraft, and will continue to take measures to destroy delivery vehicles.

The Main Intelligence Directorate confirmed that a prisoner exchange was to take place on January 24. The DIU noted that it currently has no 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 in the Russian IL-76.

On January 25, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would insist on an international investigation into the downing of the IL-76 military transport plane in Russia.

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