Russia says Ukraine had 15-minute warning on PoW flight

January 26, 2024 8:40 am

A view shows the crash site of the Russian Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane near the village of Yablonovo in the Belgorod region, Russia, in this still image from video published January 25, 2024. [Source: Reuters]

A senior Russian lawmaker said Ukrainian military intelligence had been given a 15-minute warning before a Russian military transport plane carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war entered an area where it was shot down on Wednesday, killing all on board.

Moscow accuses Kyiv of downing the Ilyushin Il-76 plane in Russia’s Belgorod region, killing 74 people on board, including 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers en route to be swapped for Russian PoWs.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Thursday the plane was struck by a Ukrainian-made surface-to-air missile.

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Ukraine denied that it was given a warning. It has neither confirmed nor denied that its forces downed the plane but has challenged details of Moscow’s account and called for an international investigation.

His assertion contradicted statements by Ukrainian military intelligence that Russia had not informed it about the flight arrangements.

Ukrainian military intelligence spokesperson Andriy Yusov, said that contrary to practice before previous PoW swaps, Kyiv had received no requests from Russia to refrain from attacks in the airspace where the plane was downed. He challenged Moscow’s version of events.