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Danilov: No Ukrainian POWs on crashed Russian Il-76 aircraft

by Dmytro Basmat February 9, 2024 9:28 PM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes only: A Russian Il-76 military transport plane. (Wikipedia)
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Despite Russia's claims, there were no Ukrainian prisoners of war on the downed Russian Il-76 transport plane that crashed on Jan. 24, National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksii Danilov told Babel in an interview that was published on Feb. 9.

"I can definitely tell you that our prisoners were not there," said Danilov during the interview.

A Russian Il-76 transport aircraft crashed in Russia's Belgorod Oblast on Jan. 24, which Russia claimed was transporting 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) for an exchange.

Russia has yet to provide evidence that there were any POWs on the downed aircraft.

After Russia began circulating its claims, Ukraine requested that Russia return the bodies of the killed POWs home.

Russia's government never responded to the appeal. Russia also reportedly blocked the International Committee of Red Cross from investigating the circumstances of the crash.

In response to Russia's claim, Danilov accused Russia of fabricating the story, adding that if Ukrainian POWs were on the plane, Russia would have filmed evidence of the crash site for propaganda purposes.

Danilov said that "biological material" would have been present in large quantities, as there was at the crash site of downed Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752  in 2020.

"There was nothing like that there; they had the whole story prepared," Danilov said. "They have nothing to show because if this had really happened, the picture would have been completely different."

Anonymously U.S. officials told The New York Times that an American-made Patriot missile system was likely responsible for the plane crash. According to the officials, the plane was also likely carrying at least some Ukrainian prisoners.

U.S. officials report that Ukraine likely acted on weak intelligence as the plane was previously used to transport missiles, making it a valuable target for Ukraine's military.

Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) has opened a criminal case into the matter.

NYT: American officials confirm Patriot missile shot down Il-76 plane
The American-made Patriot missile system is likely responsible for the Russian Il-76 plane crash, American officials anonymously told The New York Times. The plane was also likely carrying at least some Ukrainian prisoners, officials reported.
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