Ukraine's Ombudsman says there are no signs of any significant number of people in crashed IL-76
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Ukraine's Ombudsman says there are no signs of any significant number of people in crashed IL-76


Dmytro Lubinets, the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that there are no signs indicating that there could have been dozens of people on board the Il-76 plane that crashed near Belgorod, as the Russian Federation claims.

Lubinets commented on the Il-76 crash in Russia

Commenting on the situation with the plane and the statements of the Russian Federation about the Ukrainian POWs on board, Lubinets explained that legally, according to the Geneva Convention, all responsibility for the life and health of prisoners of war is borne by the country that holds them captive.

So, this is the Russian Federation. Until the moment when POWs return to their homeland through the process of exchange, until then all responsibility lies with the holding party. In our case, even if an exchange was planned, Russia had to inform the ICRC that it would transport POWs. And in this way, legal work is done to ensure decent transportation conditions, as well as safety during this logistics route, Lubinets said.

At the same time, Lubinets said that he could not affirmatively state that there were POWs in the plane.

Again, based on the analysis of the photos and videos that we saw, if there were bodies there, but I'm not an expert, but if there were even photos and videos of our prisoners of war, they would have already posted it. We did not see any signs that there were such a large number of people on the plane, Lubinets said.

Lubinets suggested that Russia had planned an information campaign against Ukraine.

I was very surprised by such quick reactions on the part of Russia. Parallel associations with the case in Olenivka immediately arose — a quick information reaction, the same effort to appeal to our strategic partners, in this way to discredit military aid to our state. I have deja vu, we've been through it before, — said the ombudsman.

Speaking about the international investigation, the Ombudsman said that Ukraine, for its part, will do everything to make it happen. At the same time, he doubts that the Russian Federation will admit experts and hand over materials for analysis.

We will apply, we will offer several options, we will involve experts, including international and Ukrainian ones. But I am convinced that, as in the case in Olenivka, the Russians will make loud statements, but will not admit anyone, will not hand over any materials for analysis, and will simply accuse Ukraine of allegedly violating something, said Lubinets.

He added that, in his opinion, the Russians have not given up on using the topic of prisoners of war against Ukraine, and they will launch new campaigns.

The Ombudsman added that he supports the position of President Volodymyr Zelenskyi regarding the international investigation.

We demand a transparent international investigation. Today I will send letters to the UN, the Red Cross. We are already preparing them. But believe that a legally clear reaction on the part of Ukraine will show that we do not violate the Geneva Conventions and treat both prisoners of war and all citizens who are on the territory of our state with dignity, even if they are Russians who came to occupy our territory, — emphasised Lubinets.

The Il-76 crash: what is known

On January 24, an Il-76 military transport plane crashed in the Korochan district of Russia's Belgorod region. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation stated that there were 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war on board who were being taken for exchange. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine did not confirm to the public that the Ukrainian Defence Forces hit the plane because "the information is still being clarified."

The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine confirmed that a prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine was being prepared for January 24.

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, later stated that the Russians were playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners. He called for an international investigation.

Today, it became known that the SSU started an investigation regarding the Il-76 crash in the Belgorod region. The investigation is carried out under Article 438 of Ukraine's Criminal Code (violation of the laws and customs of war).

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