Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, said Russia is not taking care of Ukrainian prisoners. He said this after a plane crash in western Russia that killed people.
He asked for a worldwide investigation after the crash on Wednesday in the Belgorod region, near Ukraine’s border.
Russia reported that everyone on board the Il-76 plane, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, six Russian crew members, and three escorts, did not survive after it was shot down by Kyiv.
Moscow said that Ukrainians were being flown for a prisoner swap.
Ukraine’s military intelligence (GUR) said it wasn’t asked to make sure the sky was safe, like they have before.
The GUR comments suggest that Ukraine may have shot down the military transport plane. However, they are not sure who was on board and think Russia may have been involved in causing the incident.
In a video on Wednesday, President Zelensky said the Russians are messing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners and their families, and with our society’s emotions.
The leader of Ukraine, who was going to take a trip for his birthday, has decided not to go. He said it’s important to find out all the facts.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov criticized the shooting down of the plane as a terrible act, reported by Russian news agencies. He said that if Mr Zelensky wants an investigation by the world, to look into the crimes of the government in Kyiv, it is necessary.
A video on social media showed a plane crashing and then there was a big explosion and fire near the village of Yablonovo, about 70km away from the city of Belgorod. It happened around 11:00am local time.
Belgorod’s leader, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said the plane crashed in a field near houses and that everyone on board had died.
Ukraine’s military leaders said at first that the plane was carrying missiles for Russia’s air defense systems. This was reported by the Ukrainska Pravda website. It didn’t talk about prisoners of war.
We can’t confirm the information about the people on the plane, but Ukraine’s military intelligence said Russia is responsible for keeping their soldiers safe as agreed.
It said it didn’t know the airspace had to be protected at the specific time, even though this had happened many times before.
“This may show that Russia is intentionally trying to endanger the lives and safety of the prisoners of war,” it said.
Ukraine and Russia have exchanged prisoners several times since the war began.
The head of the Ukrainian air force, Mykola Oleschuk, said that on Wednesday, Russian propaganda had tried to make Ukraine look bad to the rest of the world. Ukraine was allowed to destroy Russia’s ability to attack from the air, he said.
Russia has continued to attack Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, with guided missiles from the Belgorod region in the past few days.
Eight people died when missiles were fired on Tuesday. Then, there was another attack on Thursday night.