Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR) once again admitted the possibility that Russia used as human shields the 65 Ukrainian prisoners who, according to the Kremlin’s version, died on January 24 when the Il-76 plane in which they were traveling crashed. and stated that Moscow has not shown “willingness” to hand over the bodies.
“At this time there is no willingness to hand over the bodies”The leader of the Ukrainian GUR Andri Yusov told the country’s public broadcaster, who also pointed out that they have no more evidence than official Russian statements that the prisoners of war who were going to be exchanged that same day were on board the crashed plane.
Yusov stated that, according to the Russian version, The plane was loaded “to a third” of its capacity. According to the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, the GUR considers it possible that the downed military transport plane was loaded only with weapons, in accordance with its original function.
Another hypothesis to which the GUR gives credibility is that the Il-76 simultaneously transported “ammunition and people” and that Russia used Ukrainian prisoners of war as “human shields”.
“It must be carefully investigated,” Yusov stressed.
An Il-76 crashed on January 24 in the Russian region of Belgorod, bordering Ukraine.
According to the Kremlin’s official explanation, which has not yet been supported by evidence, The plane was carrying 74 people, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war. that were to be exchanged that same day for Russian captives in the hands of kyiv, and was shot down by missiles fired by Ukraine from across the border.
“The plane was shot down, that has already been established precisely, by a Patriot anti-aircraft system. The expert opinion established it,” Vladimir Putin stated yesterday during a meeting with the support group for his candidacy for the Russian presidency.
The president stressed Russia’s “insistent” interest in carrying out an international investigation of the incident, but noted that “there are no official organizations interested in this.”
”Taking advantage of the occasion, I officially declare: We ask to send international experts and carry out this analysis, evaluate the existing material evidence, because the plane was shot down with a Patriot system, in a specific place and at a specific time.”, he asserted.
However, he indicated that the downing of the plane with prisoners will not imply the cessation of exchanges with Ukraine because “we have to rescue our boys.”
The Ukrainian authorities have not denied having shot down the plane and have acknowledged that they had planned a prisoner exchange that same day.
kyiv has also stressed that military planes flying over areas near the border are a legitimate target, and has criticized Russia for not communicating that the prisoners were going to be transferred in this way to the exchange site.
(with information from EFE)