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Ombudsman on Il-76 crash: Russia speculates on transferring Ukrainian POWs' bodies, no lists given

by Kateryna Denisova March 1, 2024 11:17 AM 2 min read
Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) Dmytro Lubinets.
Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) Dmytro Lubinets attends the international conference of human rights commissioners in Ankara, Turkiye on Jan. 12, 2023. (Muhammed Abdullah Kurtar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Russia has not yet provided Ukraine with any official list confirming that there were Ukrainian prisoners of war (POW) on board the Il-76 aircraft that crashed in Belgorod Oblast in late January, chief Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on March 1.

Lubinets's statement came after his Russian counterpart, Tatyana Moskalkova, claimed Moscow's readiness to hand over the bodies of allegedly killed Ukrainian POWs to Kyiv.

Russia has alleged that the Russian military aircraft that crashed on Jan. 24 was destroyed by Ukrainian forces and that it was carrying 65 captured Ukrainian fighters.

According to Lubinets, Russia "keeps speculating" on the Il-76 plane crash topic and has not granted international organizations access to the site more than a month after the downing of its aircraft.

"Ukraine's position is unchanged: we demand a transparent investigation, access to the crash site, and from day one, we have been demanding official lists and repatriation of bodies and appropriate examinations (if confirmed)," the ombudsman noted.

Andrii Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukraine's military intelligence, told the Suspilne media outlet on March 1 that Kyiv had repeatedly appealed to Moscow to transfer the bodies of allegedly killed Ukrainian POWs and that the "work in this direction is ongoing."

Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksii Danilov said in an interview published in early February that there were no Ukrainian prisoners of war on the destroyed transport plane.

President Volodymyr Zelensky called for an international investigation into the Il-76 crash.

Unnamed American officials told the New York Times on Feb. 8 that the U.S.-made Patriot missile system was likely responsible for the plane's downing. The officials suggested that the plane likely had at least some Ukrainian prisoners onboard.

Ukrainian officials meet relatives of POWs who Russia claims were in crashed Il-76, say no evidence to confirm that
Ukraine’s Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War said on Jan. 26 that during the planned exchange of POWs two days earlier Moscow was to return to Ukraine 65 people from one of the lists Russian propagandists shared after the crash of Il-76 transport plane in Russia’s Belgor…
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