The secret of the crashed Russian plane: What we know

A plane crash on the Russia-Ukraine border, unclear images of the accident and different versions offered by the two countries. It’s a mystery that fits into the bloody conflict that has raged for more than a year. The accident occurred yesterday morning, Wednesday, January 24: The Ilyushin Il-76 plane, which Russians usually use to transport people and vehicles, crashed in the Belgorod region. According to Moscow, all people on board died: 74 passengers, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners, were to return home in an agreed-upon exchange. A version refuted by Kiev and some images: In fact, there is no trace of the bodies.

Moscow’s accusations

What happened? Russian officials immediately pointed the finger at Ukraine, which is accused of shooting down the plane: The communication, supported by Moscow, stated that at least 2 missiles were reported by radar and launched from the Liptsy region in the Kharkiv region, approximately 80 km from the point of impact. . This is not the first time Moscow has accused Kiev of killing its own men. Last year, Russian authorities accused the Ukrainian military of bombing a prison camp in Olenivka, Donetsk; this version was later thrown into doubt by analyzes of the event.

Kyiv version

Ukraine’s attitude is more cautious. Ukrainska Pravda newspaper first published the version of a source close to the military, which claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that the plane was carrying S-300 missiles. This version is unconfirmed by official sources, who limit themselves to references to the prisoner exchange, without making any explicit confessions. Ministry of Defense intelligence gave information: “There was supposed to be a prisoner exchange, but it did not happen. We currently have no information about who was on the plane and what the numbers were.” The Russian side said that the plane was carrying our so-called prisoners. Ukraine fulfilled all agreements for the preparation of the exchange. According to the agreements, the security of our defenders was to be guaranteed by the Russian side. Ukraine was not informed about the number of vehicles, the method and route of delivery of the prisoners. It is known that prisoners were delivered via air, rail and road transport. “This may indicate deliberate actions by Russia aimed at posing a threat to the life and safety of prisoners.”

accident video

The last moments of the plane can be seen in the images published on social media after the accident. Although the videos are not very clear, it is possible to distinguish the plane that started to lose altitude and exploded on the ground, ending its uncontrolled descent. However, according to initial analysis, it appears that the shape of the crashed plane was not damaged by the three missiles. The crash site was quickly cordoned off and examined by Russian experts. Released videos show the wreckage and only one body can be seen: no sign of the dozens of prisoners who were supposed to be on board. According to Duma Defense Committee Chairman Andrey Kartapolov, the plane could have been shot down by US Patriot missiles or German IRIS-T systems, but no evidence of this was presented. While there are no Patriots in the border areas with Russia, IRIS-T’s operating range makes the hypothesis that the launch will be made from the region controlled by Kiev implausible.

Points needing clarification

An accident that still has many unclear points. Starting from the number of people aboard the Ilyushin Il-76. Moscow claims there were 65 Ukrainian prisoners accompanied by some Russian soldiers tasked with leading the operation. However, this relationship hardly respects the practice generally adopted during exchanges: according to Ukrainian sources, Russia has so far been using one soldier for every 2-3 prisoners. Russian media also published a list of names that allegedly corresponded to the dead prisoners. Here is a list questioned by Ukrainian media, highlighting anomalies: Some names may be related to soldiers returned to Ukraine as part of an exchange completed on January 3. Finally, the choice to use planes for prisoner exchanges seems risky: in recent months, transfers have always been by train or bus. However, although it is difficult to consider the use of such a large and at the same time vulnerable aircraft in such a sensitive conflict-affected region, this does not rule out the possibility that the downed aircraft was part of a joint operation.

Source: Today IT