Il-76So far, only two facts are known about the crash near Belgorod
Russia has released the names of those killed in the crash of the Ilyushin Il-76. One expert cautions against taking the information at face value.
Russian authorities have released the names of the pilot and five crew members who were killed after a Russian Il-76 military plane crashed in the Belgorod region of the Ukrainian-Russian border. It will be accordingly In addition to the commander Stanislav Alekseevich, two co-pilots and a navigatorA flight engineer and radio operator also died.
Are dead Ukrainians free for long?
According to Russian information, a total of 74 people were on board, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said. However, international observers are skeptical of the Russian information: some of the Ukrainian POWs allegedly killed were already there. regained their independence after earlier exchanges. In images and video footage of the crash, almost only the wreckage is visible – except for individual parts of the footage pixelated by Russian media, showing no sign of the 74 people on board.
In addition, according to the Kremlin, only three guards were flown to protect 65 prisoners. However, in past prisoner exchanges, Ukrainian soldiers reported, there were about 60 prisoners of war with at least 20 military police.
A security expert cautions against speculation
Security expert Claudia Major also cautions against hasty decisions. Two facts are currently known, the head of the Defense Policy Research Group of the Scientific and Political Foundation (SWP) told “Morgenmagazin” on ZDF on Thursday: “The plane was shot down. A prisoner exchange was planned and it did not happen. This is currently the “only reliable information”.
Everything else, like prisoner exchange lists, is so far “speculation”. Hence the Ukrainian demand President Volodymyr Zelensky after an international investigation Correct about the cause of the accident. Ukrainian military sources said the plane was carrying missiles shortly after it crashed.
Experts at the US Institute for War Studies (ISW) in Washington said they could not independently verify the Russian or Ukrainian information. Russian officials say the plane was shot down while en route to a prisoner exchange. It was confirmed in Ukraine that an exchange was planned for that day. However, Kiev did not comment on the detainees on board.
Ukraine reportedly used Western missiles
According to ISW, the Russian leadership is using the incident to sow distrust in Ukrainian society against the government in Kiev. The question of prisoner-of-war exchanges in particular is seen as a sensitive topic that stirs emotions for Ukrainians and Russians alike. In addition, Russian officials wanted to weaken the West's military support for the country through unproven claims, for example that Ukraine used German or American missiles to launch them.
The Russian plane crashed 23 months after Moscow launched a war of aggression against its neighbor. Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin ordered an attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Country Defending itself against a Russian invasion with Western weapons. Ukrainian security forces recently launched a massive shelling of the Belgorod region, from which Russia also supplies its troops.
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