The Ukrainian president called Volodymyr Zelensky Yesterday evening, Wednesday, an international investigation was called into the downing of the Russian military plane, which Moscow said yesterday was transporting Ukrainian prisoners of war, accusing Kiev of shooting it down.
Zelensky did not completely deny Russia’s accusations, but he said that Moscow was manipulating the lives of the Ukrainian prisoners and the feelings of their families, pointing out the need to highlight the facts of the incident, especially since the plane was shot down over Russian territory outside Kiev’s control, as he put it.
Moscow announced the killing of 74 people – including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war – when it shot down a military transport plane in the area. Belgorod Near the border with Ukraine yesterday.
After the plane crash, Russia immediately accused Ukraine of responsibility and described what happened as a “terrorist act,” while Ukraine accused Russia of not informing it of the need to protect Belgorod’s airspace in the context of the prisoner exchange, adding that a prisoner exchange had been planned, but it was then cancelled.
Kiev has not yet determined whether the Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed as a result of an accident, or the plane was shot down by Ukrainian weapons.
“We detected Ukrainian missiles”
On the other hand, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that the Ukrainian leadership was fully aware that Ukrainian soldiers would be transported by military transport plane to Belgorod Airport to complete the exchange, in accordance with known practices.
She added that 6 Russian crew members and 3 other Russian soldiers were on board the Ilyushin IL-76 military transport plane that was shot down.
It confirmed that radar system operators detected the launch of two Ukrainian missiles at the time the plane was shot down.
For his part, Russian parliamentarian and retired general Andrei Kartapolov explained that the plane was shot down by 3 missiles, either American or German-made, indicating that the transport plane was not accompanied by Russian fighters. Because the trip was agreed with the Ukrainians.
He accused Ukraine of deliberately sabotaging the prisoner exchange process, stressing that another plane carrying 80 Ukrainian prisoners was able to turn around and leave at the time the plane fell.
The plane shooting down incident is the highest death toll within Russian borders during the war that has been going on for nearly two years.
Earlier this month, Russia and Ukraine announced the first official exchange of prisoners of war after the exchange operations had been interrupted for months, during which each of them released more than 200 prisoners.
It is noteworthy that Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, has been subjected to repeated attacks from Ukraine in the past few months, including a missile attack last December, which led to the death of 25 Russian civilians, according to Russian sources.
The post first appeared on www.aljazeera.net