Belgorod plane attack ‘a monstrous act’ – Kremlin
Ukraine’s murder of its own citizens in an attack on a Russian military Il-76 plane, was “a monstrous act,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
A Russian military transport aircraft carrying 65 Ukrainian POWs went down in a field in Russia’s Belgorod Region on Wednesday morning; there were no survivors.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has insisted that the plane was brought down by Ukrainian anti-aircraft missiles, noting that Kiev had been informed of the flight, its passengers and destination ahead of time. The POWs were meant to take part in a prisoner swap later that day, according to Russian and Ukrainian sources.
Kiev, however, has disputed Moscow’s claim that the Il-76 was shot down by a Ukrainian missile; President Vladimir Zelensky has called for an international investigation into the incident that would “determine all the hard facts.”
Peskov noted that Kiev’s actions “defy understanding” and that it’s hard to explain the logic behind the attack, suggesting that the Zelensky Administration should explain their actions.
He also stated that it is currently unclear how Kiev’s attack will affect any future prisoner exchange negotiations, but noted that it’s too early to say anything definitively on that matter.
As for Zelensky’s proposal to launch an international investigation, Peskov stated that “if he means an international investigation of the crimes committed by the Kiev regime, then it is undoubtedly necessary.”
Shortly after the plane crashed on Wednesday morning, the Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainskaya Pravda initially reported, citing sources within the military, that the aircraft had indeed been brought down by Kiev’s forces as it was believed to have been carrying S-300 missiles. That report was later deleted after Russia revealed that the plane was carrying Ukrainian POWs.
The Ukrainian General Staff, meanwhile, has stated that it has and will continue to use “measures of destruction” against Russian transport aircraft in the Belgorod Region, adding that they pose a “terrorist threat.”
Russia has requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the downing of the military aircraft, with Russia’s Foreign Ministry accusing Kiev of committing a “terrorist act” and blatantly disregarding the lives of its own citizens.