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Lavrov calls for emergency UN Security Council meeting over plane crash

by Nate Ostiller January 24, 2024 8:08 PM 2 min read
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov holds a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Jan. 24, 2024.
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over the crash of a Russian Il-76 transport plane in Belgorod Oblast on Jan. 24 that was allegedly carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war.

Russian authorities confirmed earlier that the plane had crashed and later claimed that 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) were on board. Ukraine has not confirmed that was the case, although Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) verified that a prisoner swap was planned for Jan. 24.

Speaking at the UN in New York, Lavrov called the plane crash a "terrorist attack" and held Ukraine responsible.

He repeated the claim that Ukrainian POWs were on board and said that all 65 were killed, along with three Russian officers and six crew members.

Lavrov alleged that Ukrainian air defenses operating in Kharkiv Oblast targeted the plane in a "fatal strike."

He went on to repeat debunked claims that Ukraine had staged the Bucha massacre, in which hundreds of Ukrainian civilians were murdered by Russian soldiers outside of Kyiv shortly after the beginning of the full-scale invasion in March 2022.

Lavrov asked France, which currently holds the chair of the UN Security Council, to call for an emergency session.

Ukraine has not taken responsibility for the plane crash.

The HUR said that Russia had not informed it about the need to ensure the safety of the airspace in the area, as it had done "repeatedly" in past prisoner exchanges.

Ukraine says it was not informed about need to ensure safety of airspace before plane crash in Belgorod Oblast
The Russian side did not notify Ukraine about the necessity to ensure the safety of the airspace around Belgorod, Ukraine’s military intelligence said, which has been done “repeatedly” in the past.
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