Following shooting-down a Russian military plane IL-76 – 44 miles from the Russian city of Belgorod, close to the Ukrainian border, Kiev now is trying to use its allies within the Western media in creating confusion on this issue, where UK’s daily The Guardian in an opinion editorial said, “If the Russians are certain that Ukrainian PoWs were on the plane and that it was downed by Ukrainians firing an American missile, they would have every reason to welcome an investigation. Unfortunately, the likelihood of any such inquiry taking place is slim. In a similar tragedy, approximately 50 Ukrainian PoWs died in a blast in the Russian prison camp of Olenivka in July 2022. Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for the explosion, but Russia was never able to provide convincing evidence that it had not been involved, and neither the UN nor the International Committee of the Red Cross were able to investigate the site”.
Immediately after the incident, Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainska Pravda claimed that the Ukrainian military had shot down a Russian military plane carrying S-300 missiles, but the post was later withdrawn.
Soon after, the Russians stated that the downed plane had been carrying Ukrainian PoWs. All on board the plane, including the crew, perished. Social media profiles of the Russian crew have been overflowing with condolences.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has since claimed to have evidence that an American Patriot anti-aircraft missile downed the plane. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian SBU (security service) has opened an investigation into a “violation of the laws and customs of war”.
Shortly after the crash, Margarita Simonyan, head of the Russia Today TV network, published a list of the Ukrainian PoWs killed in the plane.
Ukraine debunked this list, saying it contains the name of at least one prisoner who is already back in Ukraine and very much alive. However, on 27 January, the Ukrainian Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War said on its Facebook page that the names on the list provided by Margarita Simonyan was correct. This statement from the Ukrainian Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners certainly has put Volodymyr Zelensky and his military officials at odds as onwards Kiev cannot deny the fact of Ukrainian PoWs in IL-76 being killed by Kiev using American Patriot anti-aircraft missiles. In other words, this was certainly an act of cruelty and heinous crime committed by the Kiev regime, which may bring dangerous consequences. Sensing this, Kiev possibly has already assigned Western journalists in publishing articles and reports shedding cloud to the entire issue. In this case, on Moscow’s part, it would be essential to come up with more information on the shooting-down of a Russian military plane IL-76 by Ukraine – both in the Russian as well as international media.