18:25 24 Jan 2024

Ukraine's intelligence accuses Russia of disrupting POWs swap after plane crashes in Belgorod

Ukraine's intelligence has reported that the prisoner exchange scheduled for January 24 did not take happen at the site of a plane crash in Belgorod.

Officials cannot confirm whether there were Ukrainian prisoners on board the aircraft, as claimed by Russian sources citing the war prisoners list.

The military intelligence noted that, according to the Russian side, "this happened after the downing of a Russian Il-76 aircraft, which was allegedly transporting our prisoners."

Officials do not have 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."

The security of Ukrainian troops was to be provided by the Russian side.

"At the same time, the Ukrainian side was not informed about the need to ensure the security of the airspace in the area of Belgorod within a certain period of time, as it has been done many times in the past."

Ukraine was not informed about the number of vehicles, routes, and forms of delivery of prisoners.

The intelligence said that this may indicate Russia's deliberate actions aimed at endangering the lives and safety of prisoners.

"The landing of a transport aircraft in the 30-kilometer combat zone cannot be safe and in any case should be discussed by both sides, because otherwise it jeopardizes the entire exchange process. Based on this, we may be talking about the planned and deliberate actions of the Russian Federation to destabilize the situation in Ukraine and weaken international support for our country."

Russian Il-76 military aircraft crashed after takeoff in the Belgorod region, Rubryka reported. According to the defense ministry, it may have been carrying Ukrainian war prisoners.

The Ukrainian coordination headquarters is collecting and analyzing all the necessary information about the Russian Il-76 aircraft for the treatment of PoWs and other specialized structures.

Ukrainian ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets called for no premature conclusions about the deaths of prisoners.


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