Skip to content

Evidence Indicates Ukraine Shot Down Russian Plane with 65 Ukrainian POWs

A Russian IL-76 cargo aircraft, on its way from the Moscow region to the Belgorod region, carrying 65 captured Ukrainian military on their way for a scheduled prisoner exchange, was shot down around 11:15 a.m. (GMT+3) local time, about 90 km from Ukraine’s border, killing all aboard. Ukraine officials have issued a series of twisting and turning statements, including both confirming and not confirming that they shot down the plane; claiming that weapons supplies were on board, not Ukrainian prisoners; claiming that prisoners may have been on board but Moscow hadn’t informed them, etc. By the end of day, it appears from a Ukrainian report that the UAF General Staff had provided a non-admission admission.

First, Belgorod’s Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov announced that the transport plane with the Ukrainian POWs had crashed in his region, that local emergency teams were on site, but that all on board had died.

Kiev’s Ukrainska Pravda newspaper reported, citing sources in Ukraine’s military, that the aircraft had been destroyed by Ukrainian forces, and that it had been carrying S-300 air defense missiles. Within minutes, the daily removed any mention of Ukraine’s role in bringing down the aircraft. A correction appeared: Earlier, in the material with reference to sources in the Armed Forces, it was indicated that they were involved in the downing of the plane. At the same time, another source of the UP did not confirm this information.”

At this point, the strange correction had a second source, not denying that Ukraine shot down the plane, but simply not confirming it. It raises the question what that source was telling UP, but apparently UP got the message that they needed to take the part about Ukraine downing the plane out of their coverage.

The Russian Defense Ministry initially announced that, besides the 65 Ukrainian POWs, there were also 6 crew members and 3 people accompanying the POWs, and that they were being transported to Belgorod region for an exchange. Defense officials also noted that Moscow has dispatched a commission to establish the cause of the incident.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry went silent, only saying that they were looking into the matter. However, Kyrylo Budanov’s Military Directorate (GUR) section admitted that a prisoner exchange had been scheduled for today. Then it blamed Moscow, saying that Kiev had not been asked to ensure the security of the air space today for the POW swap, as had been the case during previous swaps. (This, curiously, is not a denial that they knew the flight plan of the plane, or even that they knew the POWs were on board.) From there, it suggested that Russia’s claim that Ukraine shot down the plane could be “a planned action to destabilize the situation in Ukraine and weaken international support for our state.”

This post is for paying subscribers only


Already have an account? Sign In