14:25 25 Jan 2024

Special services stopped Russian VIPs from boarding Il-76 plane before crash in Belgorod – UA intelligence

The crash site of Il-76 in the Belgorod Oblast, Russia. Photo: Russian Telegram channels

The Russian Il-76 plane that crashed in the Belgorod Oblast, Russia, was supposed to carry the Russian military and political elite, but at the last moment, special services prohibited them from boarding this plane.

Ukrainian Defense Intelligence spokesperson Andrii Yusov told Radio Svoboda that the surnames of these Russian VIP persons who were supposed to be on board are already known. They will be provided as part of an international investigation, Rubryka reports.

Yusov said that Ukrainian intelligence received information about the presence of these individuals on board the Il-76 only after the plane crashed.

He also revealed that during previous exchanges of prisoners of war, Russia used aviation transport for their transportation. However, the Russian side had previously requested a silence regime, which they did not do this time.

Since the Il-76 aircraft was used to transport ammunition for attacks on Ukraine, according to the spokesperson, this may indicate that Russia could have used Ukrainian prisoners of war as a human shield for transporting ammunition and weapons.

At the same time, Yusov said that both missiles and people could have been on board.

However, according to agency networks, only five bodies were delivered to the local morgue in Belgorod the day before, corresponding to the number of crew members of the aircraft.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukraine would insist on an international investigation into the crash of the Russian Il-76, and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) opened a criminal case due to the crash of the Il-76 in Russia.

What happened to the Russian cargo aircraft Il-76

Earlier, Rubryka reported that a Russian military aircraft, Il-76, crashed in the Belgorod Oblast of the Russian Federation shortly after takeoff.

According to statements by the Russian Ministry of Defense, Ukrainian prisoners of war may have been on board.

Later, it became known that all the necessary information regarding the Russian Il-76 aircraft that crashed in Russia is being collected and analyzed by the Ukrainian coordination headquarters for handling prisoners of war and other relevant structures: Russia claims that Ukrainian prisoners of war were on board.

In turn, Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets called for not making premature conclusions about the death of Ukrainian prisoners of war.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine made the first statement against the background of the Il-76 crash in Russia.

The Ukrainian intelligence noted that the planned exchange of prisoners of war between Ukraine and Russia did not take place. However, the Ukrainian side fulfilled its part of the agreement.

ISW noted that Russian propagandists are using the Il-76 crash to sow internal dissatisfaction in Ukraine and undermine the West's desire to continue providing military support to Ukraine.

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