Kiev’s attack on POW plane ‘insane barbarism’ – Moscow
Kiev’s downing of a Russian military cargo plane carrying dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war is “an act of insane barbarism” that calls into question the possibility of further diplomatic engagement between the two countries, a senior Foreign Ministry official has said.
On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that Kiev had shot down an IL-76 cargo aircraft carrying 65 captured Ukrainian service personnel as well as several crew members and soldiers over the Belgorod Region, which borders Ukraine. The captives were to take part in a prisoner exchange with Kiev. Russian officials also claimed that the Ukrainians used Western-supplied air defense systems to shoot down the plane.
Rodion Miroshnik, Russia’s ambassador-at-large for Ukraine’s crimes, condemned Kiev over the attack, warning that the perpetrators would be brought to justice. “By violating the agreements, they killed our pilots and escort soldiers and wrote off their own citizens,” he said.
”The Ukrainian dictatorship,” the diplomat continued, sacrificed their own service members to “demonstrate ‘Russia’s bloody nature.”’ In practice, however, Kiev only revealed its own “Nazi inhuman core by conspicuously sending to kingdom come those for whom it supposedly ‘fought’ and was waiting for,” he stated.
According to Miroshnik, the incident also casts serious doubt on the possibility of future agreements between Moscow and Kiev. “They are certain to violate the guarantees that they are giving if they have not already; there is no doubt about it.”
Ukrainian officials have so far declined to comment on the incident, saying they are still investigating the matter. However, Andrey Yusov, a spokesman for Kiev’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) spokesman, confirmed that Russia and Ukraine were scheduled to conduct a prisoner exchange on Wednesday.
Commenting on the incident, Russian Senator Viktor Bondarev told the ‘Vmeste RF’ TV channel that the crew of the Il-76 was able to report “external impact” after the attack. He also suggested that the plane’s pilots – whom he described as highly experienced – managed to steer the aircraft out of the populated area to avoid civilian casualties.
He added that while the Il-76 was equipped with decoy flares, its crew did not use them because the plane was flying over friendly territory and far from the frontline.