Ukraine to insist on international investigation into crash of Russian Il-76 - Zelensky

Ukraine to insist on international investigation into crash of Russian Il-76 - Zelensky

Ukrinform
Ukraine will insist on an international investigation into the situation surrounding the January 24 crash of a Russian Il-76 plane in Russia's Belgorod region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said this in his nightly video address on Wednesday, January 24, Ukrinform reports.

He said he had summoned Minister of Defense Rustem Umerov, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Serhii Shaptala, Head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense Kyrylo Budanov and Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Vasyl Maliuk for a report on the situation with the plane crash and a prisoner of war exchange.

"It is obvious that the Russians are messing with the lives of Ukrainian captives, the feelings of their relatives, and the emotions of our society. All clear facts must be established. To the extent possible, given that the aircraft crashed on Russian territory – beyond our control. 'Facts' is the key word now," Zelensky said.

Read also: Ukraine intelligence: Russians did not ask for safety of airspace near Belgorod during planned prisoner swap

He said that he had heard a report from the Commander-in-Chief and the General Staff on the use of the Air Force. He added that the Ukrainian intelligence agency was clarifying the fate of all prisoners and the SBU was investigating all the circumstances.

"I have instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to provide our partners with the information available to Ukraine. Our state will insist on an international investigation," Zelensky said.

According to Russian Telegram channels, an Il-76 plane, which is used to transport equipment and troops, crashed in the Belgorod region on January 24.

Sources in the Ukrainian Armed Forces stated that this aircraft was carrying a batch of S-300 air defense missiles. The Russian army is using these missiles for the massive shelling of the Kharkiv region and other Ukrainian regions bordering Russia.

According to media reports, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the plane was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, six crew members, and three accompanying persons.

Andrii Yusov, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian intelligence agency, said the exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine was supposed to take place on January 24. According to him, claims by the Russian side that Ukrainian POWs could be on board the Il-76 plane that crashed in the Belgorod region are being verified.

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