UN Cannot Verify the Circumstances of the Il-76 Crash

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The Russia’s Investigative Committee published a video from the crash site of Il-76. The UN said that it could not verify the circumstances of the Russian plane’s crash. Moscow and Kyiv are conducting separate investigations. Russia’s Investigative Committee on Thursday night published footage showing the crash site of the Il-76 plane allegedly being inspected. “The first results of investigative actions, including preliminary data from the inspection of the scene, allow us to conclude that the aircraft was attacked by an anti-aircraft missile from the territory of Ukraine,” the video’s description reads. On January 24, 2024, a Russian Il-76 military transport plane crashed a few kilometers from the village of Yablonovo in the Belgorod oblast, near the border with Ukraine. According to the Russian Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry, 6 crew members, 3 military police officers and more than 60 captured Ukrainian servicemen were on board. All of them are reportedly dead. “We understand that both Russia and Ukraine are conducting separate investigations into the incident and Ukraine has called for an international investigation. The United Nations is unable to verify these reports or the circumstances of the crash,” Rosemary A. DiCarlo, the UN undersecretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, told an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the matter on Thursday. According to Moscow, 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, six Russian crew members and three Russian servicemen were on board. According to Kyiv’s version, the plane may have been carrying missiles from the Russian military system. The crash has caused a chain of counter-claims, but neither side has provided evidence for its accusations, nor can independent media confirm who was actually on board or how the plane was shot down. Russia says the Ukrainian military shot down the plane with two missiles and claims the POWs were on their way for an exchange. Russia’s main investigative body, known as the Investigative Committee, opened a criminal case on Thursday on charges that the plane crash was an act of terrorism. Ukraine responded by questioning whether there were prisoners of war on board and has put forward its own theories, including hinting that the plane could have posed a threat. DiCarlo said the incident outlined the importance of treating POWs under international law. “We urge the sides to continue to exchange POWs. Families on both sides are waiting to be reunited with their loved ones,” she claimed. Meanwhile, Russian drone attacks on Ukrainian cities continue. In Odesa, a residential building was damaged as a result of the second strike in a week. Shrapnel from the drone penetrated the ceiling, broke windows and damaged nearby buildings.