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Il-76 crash: UN is unable to confirm presence of prisoners on board

Il-76 crash: UN is unable to confirm presence of prisoners on board Photo: The United Nations has called for an international investigation into the crash of the Il-76 in the Belgorod region (Getty Images)

The United Nations (UN) cannot determine whether Ukrainian prisoners of war were on board the downed Il-76 plane in the Belgorod region. United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Rosemary DiCarlo, made this statement during a meeting of the UN Security Council on January 25.

She reminded that according to the Russian authorities, there were 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, six Russian crew members, and three Russian military personnel on board the plane. She added that according to Kyiv, the aircraft could have been carrying missiles for the Russian military system.

DiCarlo reiterated that Ukraine has called for an international investigation into the incident.

"The United Nations is not in a position to verify these reports or the circumstances of the crash. What is clear is that the incident took place in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ongoing war," said the Under-Secretary-General of the UN.

According to DiCarlo, in recent weeks, the scale and intensity of attacks on Ukraine have increased, indicating a dangerous trajectory of the war. She expressed concern about missile strikes and shelling in civilian areas, leading to the death and injury of civilians, as well as the destruction of critically important infrastructure.

Il-76 crash in the Belgorod region

On January 24, a Russian military transport plane, Il-76, crashed in the Korocha district of the Belgorod region. Sources from RBC-Ukraine report that the aircraft was carrying missiles for the S-300 air defense system.

However, Russia claims that the plane allegedly had 65 prisoners, 6 crew members, and 3 escorts on board. Moscow accuses Ukraine of shooting down the plane.

The General Staff of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine confirmed that a planned exchange of prisoners was scheduled for January 24. However, they did not confirm Russia's information about the presence of Ukrainian prisoners on the plane.

The Security Service of Ukraine initiated a criminal investigation into the crash. The investigation is being conducted under Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which pertains to violations of the laws and customs of war.

Russia called for a UN Security Council meeting on January 25 regarding the plane crash.