Ukraine updates: Russian military transport plane crashes

A Russian military transport plane has crashed with dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war on board, according to the Defense Ministry

The plane crashed in the Belgorod region, purportedly as it was bringing Ukrainian POWs to the border area for a prisoner exchange (representative image) (photo: DW)
The plane crashed in the Belgorod region, purportedly as it was bringing Ukrainian POWs to the border area for a prisoner exchange (representative image) (photo: DW)
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Zelenskyy says Russia 'playing with the lives' of Ukrainian POWs

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Moscow of "playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners of war."

His remarks come after a Russian military plane crashed on Wednesday, 24 January in the Belgorod region near the border with Ukraine, killing all 74 people aboard, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war headed for a swap.

"It is obvious that the Russians are playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners, with the feelings of their relatives and with the emotions of our society," Zelenskyy said in an evening address.

Russia's Defense Ministry accused Ukraine of shooting down the aircraft.

Zelenskyy did not confirm or deny Moscow's claims but called for an international investigation into what brought down the plane.

UN Security Council to discuss Russian plane, Zelenskyy reportedly cancels trips

The UN Security Council will meet on Thursday to discuss the incident involving a Russian military transport plane that crashed in Russia's Belgorod region near Ukraine.

France, the current holder of the rotating presidency of the Security Council, confirmed the appointment, a day later than Moscow had hoped.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in New York and on Wednesday asked for an immediate emergency session of the council to discuss the crash, which he called a "terrorist attack."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meanwhile, has canceled a regional trip and events linked to his birthday pending clarification of the crash, the RBK Ukraine news outlet reported. He has not yet commented on the incident.

Russia said 74 people aboard the plane were killed, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war headed for a swap.

Ukraine says no reliable information on plane passengers

Ukraine's military intelligence it does not have reliable information about who was on board of the Russian Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft that crashed in the Belgorod region on Wednesday morning.

"Currently, we do not have reliable and comprehensive information about who exactly was on board the plane and how many," a statement read.

Earlier Russia's defense ministry said the plane was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were to be swapped. Another six crew members and three Russian soldiers were also on board.

Ukrainian intelligence said it was ready for the prisoner exchange but claimed that it was cancelled.

It also said that the "Ukrainian side was not informed about the need to ensure the safety of the airspace in the area of the city of Belgorod in a certain period of time, as was repeatedly done in the past."

Russia accused Ukraine of shooting down the military transport plane, and claimed that Ukraine was aware of the plane's plans and destination.

A Ukrainian government body responsible for issues linked to prisoners of war said earlier that it was probing Russia's claims.

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Published: 25 Jan 2024, 9:26 AM
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