11:11 01 Mar 2024

Moscow claims it can hand over bodies of Ukrainian soldiers who allegedly died in Belgorod plane crash

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

The Russian Human Rights Commissioner, Tatyana Moskalenko, stated that Russia is ready to transfer the bodies of Ukrainian prisoners who allegedly died in the crash of the Il-76 near Belgorod.

Rubryka reports, citing the Russian propaganda media "RIA Novosti" and Ukrainian ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets on Telegram.

"Everything needed from a procedural point of view is available… The bodies can be transferred according to the existing procedures," said Moskalenko to propagandists.

The Russian ombudsman added that she was supposedly in contact with representatives of Ukraine regarding the Il-76 crash.

Moskalenko claimed that the Ukrainian side was interested in the possibility of transferring the bodies and that she was discussing this issue with the Ukrainian ombudsman Lubinets.

"As for the bodies — I immediately informed that we have confirmation and all DNA, which allows for the identification of the individual according to the conclusion of the examination," she said.

Dmytro Lubinets, in turn, stated that Russia has not provided official lists, confirmed the deaths of prisoners, or allowed international organizations access to the crash site of the Il-76.

"I stress that Ukraine's position remains unchanged: we demand a transparent investigation, access to the crash site of the aircraft, as well as official lists, demanded from the first day and repatriation of bodies and appropriate examinations (in case of confirmation)," he said.

What happened to the Russian 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.

It was also reported that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) had opened a case regarding the crash of the Il-76 near Belgorod. The investigation is being carried out under Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (violation of laws and customs of war).

Later, Andrii Yusov, a Ukrainian Defense Intelligence spokesperson, stated that Russia was not responding to Ukraine's requests for the return of the bodies of prisoners of war who allegedly died on board the Il-76.

The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksii Danilov, recently stated that there were no Ukrainian prisoners on board the Il-76. In his opinion, if military prisoners had indeed died, Russia would have used this for propaganda purposes.

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