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Ombudsman says Russia has not yet confirmed death of prisoners on IL-76 board

The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights commented on Russia's statement about its readiness to hand over the bodies. 

Russia has not yet handed over the lists of prisoners of war who allegedly died in the crash of the IL-76 aircraft in the Belgorod Region. It has also not confirmed the deaths and has not granted international organisations access to the crash site, according to the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets.

In this way, he commented on Russian statements that they are ready to hand over the bodies of people who allegedly died in the crash. Ombudsman believes that this is yet another speculation on the downing of the aircraft.

"Once again, the Russian side is starting to speculate on the IL-76 crash. But so far, at my request, Russia has not handed over official lists, confirmed the fact, or granted international organisations access to the crash site," he said.

The Commissioner added that Kyiv demands a transparent investigation.

"I emphasise that Ukraine's position is unchanged: we demand a transparent investigation, access to the crash site, and from day one we have been demanding official lists and repatriation of bodies and relevant examinations (if confirmed)," he said.

Today, Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova shared her readiness to hand over to Ukraine the bodies of prisoners of war allegedly killed in the IL-76 plane crash in Belgorod Region, Radio Liberty's Russian-language bureau reports, citing data from a pro-Kremlin agency. Earlier, Russia did not provide any confirmation that there were indeed prisoners on board, and photos from the crash site did not indicate that so many victims had died.

The Russian ombudsman claims to be in contact with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Lubinets.

The crash of the IL-76

  • On the afternoon of 24 January, an IL-76 military transport aircraft crashed in Russia's Belgorod Region. The Russians claimed that there were allegedly Ukrainian POWs on board and accused Ukraine of shooting down the plane. They also immediately said that Ukraine had allegedly used Western weapons. Russia has previously engaged in deadly provocations with captured Ukrainians, including in Olenivka, where it blew up a detention facility and tried to shift the blame to Ukraine. Russia also accused Ukraine of shooting down flight MH-17 in Donetsk Region, but the guilt of Russia and its terrorists was proven by the International Criminal Court.
  • The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine confirmed that a prisoner exchange was scheduled for 24 January, but it was disrupted. The GUR said that it had "no reliable and comprehensive information about who exactly was on board the plane and in what quantity. For its part, Ukraine has fulfilled all the agreements to prepare the exchange. The Russian captured servicemen were delivered on time to the agreed point for the exchange, where they were kept safe.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine is clarifying the fate of all prisoners. The Security Service of Ukraine is investigating all the circumstances. He instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to inform partners about the available data in Ukraine. Ukraine will insist on an international investigation.
  • Radio Liberty journalists identified some of the dead crew members of the IL-76. They were members of the 117th Military Transport Aviation Regiment based in Orenburg. The 17th Regiment is military unit No. 45097 in the Orenburg Region. According to publicly available data, this regiment maintains military vehicles that transport special cargo for the material supply of the Russian army.
  • According to unconfirmed official reports in the media, the IL-76 was delivering shells. Last night, the General Staff reported that the Ukrainian Armed Forces would continue to take measures to destroy the delivery vehicles and control the airspace to avoid a terrorist threat, particularly in the Belgorod-Kharkiv direction.
  • Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk believes that the enemy is trying to undermine international support for Ukraine by spreading fake news about Ukraine shooting down a plane with its own prisoners.
  • The SBU is investigating the downing of the plane under the article on violation of the laws and customs of war.
  • According to the DIU, Russian officials were supposed to be on board the IL-76, which was shot down in Russia's Belgorod Region the day before, but at the last moment the FSB forbade them to board the plane. 
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