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1 Feb, 2024 14:49

Western countries refusing to cooperate with probe into Ukrainian POW plane crash – Kremlin

States are afraid of “finding that they themselves are the answer” by taking part in an international investigation, Dmitry Peskov has said
Western countries refusing to cooperate with probe into Ukrainian POW plane crash – Kremlin

The US and its allies have shown little interest in launching an international probe into last week’s crash involving a Russian aircraft that was carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Thursday. President Vladimir Putin called for an investigation on Wednesday.

A Russian Il-76 military transport aircraft with 65 Ukrainian POWs on board crashed in Belgorod Region on January 24. All of the Ukrainians, as well as six crew members and three Russian military personnel, died in the crash. Moscow immediately blamed Kiev for the incident.

On Wednesday, Putin said Moscow had asked “for international experts to be deployed [here] to conduct an analysis, assess the existing material evidence” as part of an international probe.

According to Peskov, Western nations have demonstrated no interest in the Russian initiative. “The president stated it publicly and openly yesterday that we are ready for an international investigation,” he said, adding that the US and its allies were demanding official written requests and refusing to consider the issue without such documentation.

The West’s position came as no surprise for Russia, since it is a “direct participant” in the ongoing conflict, Peskov said. “It is clear that not one of them [the US and its allies] would be interested in conducting a probe and stumbling upon themselves as a result,” he added.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had disputed Moscow’s claims and called for an international probe into the incident as well.

On Thursday, the Russian Investigative Committee confirmed that the aircraft had been shot down by a US-made Patriot air-defense system. Such systems have been provided to Kiev’s troops by the Western backers.