Russia has identified the remains of the 74 occupants of the Il-76 military plane, shot down last week in the Russian region of Belgorod with 65 Ukrainian prisoners on board, local authorities reported this Thursday.
”In total, in the area where the plane crashed, more than 670 fragments of the victims’ bodies were found and collected, as well as personal documents that were partially preserved”the Russian Instruction Committee reported in a statement.
According to the entity, the results of genetic analyzes allowed us to reach the conclusion that the remains belonged to the plane’s six crew members, three Russian escorts and 65 Ukrainian prisonerswhich were transported for exchange by Russian soldiers.
An Il-76 crashed on January 24 in the Russian region of Belgorod, bordering Ukraine.
In the Instruction Committee they indicated that “samples of genetic material” are taken from all prisonersso the researchers had at their disposal the “genetic profiles of all” the Ukrainians on board the Il-76.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov accused the West on Thursday of not being interested in an international investigation of the accident, which occurred on January 24.
”It is clear that none of them will be interested in conducting an investigation and finding themselves in this investigation”Peskov said, alluding to the fact that the plane was shot down by missiles supplied to kyiv by Western countries, according to the Russian version.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the day before that it has already been established “with precision” that the Il-76 with Ukrainian prisoners of war was shot down by an American-made Patriot anti-aircraft missile.
“The plane was shot down, that has already been established precisely, by a Patriot anti-aircraft system. The expert opinion established it,” he said of the Russian leader.
kyiv, which has confirmed that a swap was being prepared, maintains that the plane was carrying weapons, not prisoners of war.
“At this moment there is no willingness to hand over the bodies,” the leader of the Ukrainian GUR told the country’s public broadcaster. Andri Yusovwho 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.
(with information from EFE)